How can we lead others into deep waters if we ourselves live in the shallows generated by constant activity?
Richard Foster commented in Celebration of Discipline, “In contemporary society our adversary majors in three things: noise, hurry, and crowds. If he can keep us engaged in “muchness” and “manyness” he will rest satisfied. Psychiatrist Carl Jung once remarked, “Hurry is not of the devil; it is the devil.” If we are constantly being swept off our feet with frantic activity, we will be unable to be attentive at the moment of inward silence.”
Great pastors are organized and focused without the sense of driven, hurry, or busy. We need to take good things off our plates in order to make space for better things, such as: spiritual formation, thinking and planning, and cultivating key relationships.
“Life for many leaders is a blur of activity and planning, with sparse occasions for reflection, replenishing, rejoicing, and responding to the relationship the Lord is inviting them to experience and enjoy in Him. The urgent crowds out the essential. Doing ignores being. Developing skills becomes more important than shaping character.” (TransforMissional Coaching)
A W Tozer suggested, “Our religious activities should be ordered in such a way as to have plenty of time for the cultivation of the fruits of solitude and silence.”
Henri Nouwen dares to ask, “Is there a space in your life where the Spirit of God has a chance to speak or act or show up? To be contemplative means to peel off the blindfolds that keep us from seeing his coming in us and around us. It means to learn to listen in the spaces of quiet we leave for God and thereby know how better to relate to the world around us.
Recently I spent some time walking in New York City. I realized how most places are filled up with other things. So much is crowded into that place! We seem to have a fear of empty spaces. The philosopher Spinoza called this horror vacuo. We want to fill up what is empty. Our lives stay very full. And when we are not blinded by busyness, we fill our inner space with guilt about things of the past or worries about things to come. Perhaps part of our fear comes from the fact that an empty place means that something may happen to us that we cannot predict, that is new, that leads us to a place we might not want to go. I might not want to hear what God has to say.” (Turn My Mourning Into Dancing)
You can be drowning but think you’re swimming.
Can you think of any take good things you could take off your plate in order to make space for better things, such as: spiritual formation, thinking and planning, and cultivating key relationships?