Your spiritual path

Struggling on your faith journey? Try these ways to get out of that rut.

WHITNEY R. SIMPSON
Interpreter Magazine

(Jesus) said to the apostles, “Come by yourselves to a secluded place and rest for a while.” Mark 6:31 CEB

Do you pray? It may sound like a silly question, but pause and consider it. How and when do you set aside time for private prayer or other spiritual practices? Do your practices invite you to “come away” and rest with God, or do they feel like yet another item on your never-ending task list?

You can pray with scripture, with prayer beads, with color or with your body. You can meditate silently, read aloud, embrace breath prayers or talk with God in your journal. The truth is, I spend time with God in each of these ways. Don’t worry, not all at once. I practice various ways of praying because my personality longs for creativity and variety. This approach can be encouraging for some and downright scary for others. The spiritual journey offers an invitation for embracing personal quiet time apart with God, not dreading it or seeing it as a chore. Unfortunately, when it comes to spiritual practices, many of us struggle. Why is this?

What if rather than something you must check off your Christian task-list, you practiced simply being with God in ways that bring you delight and offer your soul rest? After all, practice is both a noun and a verb.

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to spending time with God. Maybe at some season in your life, it seemed that in order to connect with God, spiritual practices had to look a certain way. Christians today are not afraid to talk about meeting God in a variety of ways. There are those of us who meet God on a yoga mat or while praying over paper with a box of crayons. I recognize these spiritual practices are non-traditional. Yet God does not define what our time apart is to look like, God simply invites us to “come away” to a secluded place and rest in his presence (Mark 6:31 CEB).

Do you long to “come away” with God but simply are not sure where to start? Are you stuck in a rut or do you have false expectations of blissful quiet time apart? Are you too busy to consider what a restful spiritual practice may look like? Discovering delight with God does not happen by accident nor is it always picture perfect. That is one reason I savor time with God as practice, not perfection.

Years in the church have shaped my life. We had community meals, fellowship, outreach opportunities, choir, Bible study and more. These were all good things in community; yet I never really felt like the church equipped me to “come away” and spend time with God privately.

What I learned about this as an adult came after a health crisis that forced me into solitude and rest due to my health limitations. In this mandatory and very secluded time apart, I discovered being with God takes practice and intention. It is something we can only discover for ourselves. While it is never perfect, spending time alone with God in our own practices makes us better equipped disciples for the body of Christ.

Want help in prioritizing your time to respond more intentionally to the nudges of God? Click here to read more.

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