Monday, August 4, 2008

Pursuing Rest in God

Resting in Christ alone is a challenge and being intentional about a regular "Stop Day" (Sabbath) can be a huge challenge. Yet, making the decision to engage in "stop" disciplines is absolutely essential. I hope that this blog can serve as a discussion where we can interact - posting questions/responses/ideas/encouragements. I have several things that I'd like to post this week and likely will after Monday (my STOP DAY). For now, here are some thoughts on the two disciplines that I did not address this morning.

In Mark 1: 21-45, we see Jesus retreat from the crowds --- even Jesus engaged in disciplines ... Mark 1 (solitude)

Filtering out all the noise of life ... solitude.
Read Mark 1:21-45

What is solitude? Scheduling a time where you can experience isolation and be alone with God. One person said that it is a container discipline for all the other disciplines ... the point is to be alone - to retreat from the voices and demands. Go on a walk, get up early in the morning or stay up late, go to a park on your lunch break ... when we look at Mark 1, solitude is this:

- retreating so that we can refocus.

- retreating so that we can restructure our responses.

"We are so afraid of silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order not to have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order not to have to look at ourselves in the mirror." Dietrich Bonhoeffer

In solitude, we look in the mirror and it can be painful but it is there that we find the environment for true healing and rest. When our lives are so addicted to the adrenaline rush of activity - of course, its hard to be quiet and alone ... it is only here that we begin to notice what God is doing in us - and what He wants to do in us.

Often this is very hard to do ... listen to this quote from Henri Nouwen: "Solitude doesn't mean we immediately shut out all our inner doubts, all our anxieties, fears, bad memories, unresolved conflicts, angry feelings, and impulsive desires. On the contrary, when we have removed our outer distractions, we often find that our inner distractions manifest themselves in us at full force. We often use the outer distractions to shield ourselves from the voices of our interior. It is thus not surprising that we have a difficult time being alone ... Solitude is not an instantaneous response to an occupied life. There are too many reasons for us not to be alone."
Finally - the discipline of simplicity ... it is the idea of:

Structuring my life around reality ... simplicity.
Philippians 4:11-12

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Phil 4:11-12)

This is the art of letting go ... saying goodbye to our attachment to possessions --- this discipline reminds us that He is all we need. How do we do this?

- Assess what makes life complicated & simplify/eliminate
- Downsize possessions
- Downsize activities
- Cut back on discretionary spending; start to give more away
- Intentionally do things that cost no money

More, later this week but please discuss/question/respond!

Dr. Ted Wueste

1 comment:

mamaness said...

What tough, but comforting and encouraging words to re-hear. With Open Hands is my favorite Nouwen book. Daring to spend time with yourself is courageous. Thanks for the push.