Tag Archives: distraction

Silent Retreat—and Prayer

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, September 20, 2014

psalm 23 bible

Silent Retreat—and Prayer

I went on a silent retreat today. It took place in a church in the middle of downtown. The busy downtown part of a suburb of Chicago. The first—and quite significant—thing the retreat leader, Jay Sivits, said to us at the beginning of the retreat was: “God is glad you came today, and made time in your busy schedules to be with Him.”

I thought about that for a while. God is glad I chose to be with Him today.

Not to get sidetracked in my busy schedule with other things (things I thought were more important than God). Not to worry or fret over things that are mostly—or totally out of my control (and, by the way, forget about God). Not to allow my mind and thoughts to be envious or prideful or angry or lustful—or any one of countless other sins (oh, and ignore God).

The written material in the retreat was excellent. I appreciated the prompts that helped me join this silent retreat fully. Concerns (about myself, others close to me, my work), weariness (of body, mind or spirit), distractions (that occupy or nag at my mind or heart) and fears (“what ifs,” outcomes, expectations). I was encouraged to bring any or all of these things to conscious awareness, as they came to mind, and set them aside. So I might fully enter into the retreat.

The morning focus was on Psalm 23, and the afternoon focus on John 10. As I considered and contemplated on the Good Shepherd, I also did some personal work. Some reflection. Digging. Assessment. Deep prayer and meditation. I don’t often get a chance to do this, but I am so glad I took the time. I am grateful that God gave me the time, and I was able to dig deep.

Some of it was peeling away layers, and uncovering buried thoughts and feelings. Sort of like when I used to rake up underneath my mom’s evergreen bushes in front, or along the side of the house by the underbrush. Raking vigorously uncovered a whole lot inside of me. A lot that I had covered over. Sometimes I covered up the thoughts and feelings in a hurry, and sometimes with sadness, or because I didn’t have more time to deal with them. Not necessarily really painful, but the raking—or digging—sure stirred up a lot of stuff inside of me.

I think this was one of the most valuable facets of this day of silent retreat for me. Thank You, God.

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for the time I had to be with You today. Jay told me—told us that You are glad I chose to be with You today. I am so grateful and thankful that You chose to be with us today. You chose to be with me today. Dear Lord, help me to continue to dig deep, to continue to reflect and meditate and pray. Sincerely. Deeply. In spirit and in truth. In Your mercy and grace I pray. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Teeter Totter and—Be Quiet. Be Prayerful.

matterofprayer blog post for Tuesday, June 10, 2014

PRAY believe hope

Teeter Totter and—Be Quiet. Be Prayerful.

My life has been full lately. More often than not, I’ve felt like I’ve had to hurry up and do the next thing on the schedule.

At my work, my co-worker transitioned out of his position as interim co-pastor over the past several weeks. So, he and I have been going over the transitional tasks, hoping to make the passing of the baton as smooth as possible. The first Sunday of the month was his last Sunday with this church. We had a wonderful celebration of his interim ministry. He is now transitioning into a new position with his denomination, and I wish him the very best! Still—a big change, and lots to do, to take care of, and make sure it all gets done in a timely fashion.

In several other areas of my life, as well, things have been hopping! On top of everything else, my son’s cold two weeks ago and my subsequent cold last week (I caught it from my son . . . he shared!) added to the distraction and upset. I felt like I was on a big teeter totter, like I remember from the park near my house as a child.

Huge teeter totters made of metal, welded to a sturdy metal pipe structure in the center. The seats were wooden, painted gaily in bright colors. I liked going on the teeter totters well enough, but I did not enjoy being held up in the “up” position for a long time. Sometimes two of the other children would sit on the other end together, and there would be nothing I could do about it except holler and yell and wiggle my legs. (Much to the amusement of the others in the playground, I am sure.) And then, down-down-down, boom! Crash, on the ground! I’d finally get back to earth, with solid ground under my feet.

My transition time hasn’t been quite that traumatic—with booms and crashes—but it has been a time of adjustment. I have felt a little like I was up in the air on a teeter totter, even though my colleague Gordon was and is wonderful. He is older and wiser, and has transitioned in and out of quite a number of positions. He’s an old hand at this, and he couldn’t have been more supportive.

But still, there was that teeter totter feeling. Sometimes.

Good thing I have my prayer time! I was able to get quiet, calm myself, be present to God and have God be present with me. I love being able to focus on God’s compassion and openness, as well as the abundant care and encouragement that comes from being in the presence of the Divine, the Holy, the Lover of my soul. Thanks be to God!

Let’s pray. Dear Lord, Gracious God, thank You for Your special presence with me these past few weeks. I praise Your name for Gordon, such a wonderful colleague! Please bless him in his future ministry. But God, there is still that teeter totter feeling! I still can feel it inside. Please, God, give me—give us the assurance that You will be with us even though we are unsure whether there is solid earth or quicksand under our feet. Whether our co-workers are great people or not-so-great people, I know without a doubt You are here, right by my side. Right by our sides. What a blessing. Thank You, God!

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net Shortlink: