Wednesday, March 17, 2010


 I'm reading a book called Contemplative Youth Ministry: Practicing the Presence of Jesus. If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook you might notice that on occasion I'll quote the book on my status. The book defines contemplative as "be in the temple. It means to rest in the temple or presence of God." One of the things I am appreciating about this book is that the author (Mark Yaconelli) has you go through different exercises so that you can truly understand what he is talking about in the book. The chapters today were especially difficult for me because they required me to be in silence and simply be in the presence of God. So I left my office and decided to hide out in the activities center for a little while so no one could distract me. I needed to focus on seeing first, then hearing, then what my body was feeling, and then simply on God.

That was hard.

But it made me think of Junior year at Concordia when I experience silence once... and I wanted to share.

Sept. 20, 2006
Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, WITHDREW again to a mountain by himself. ~John 6:14

Once when Jesus was praying in PRIVATE. . . ~ Luke 9:18a

He withdrew about a stone's throw BEYOND them, knelt down, and prayed. ~Luke 22:42

After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside BY HIMSELF to pray. When evening came, he was there ALONE. ~ Matthew 14:23

If you know me pretty well, then you know that I am really busy and on the go. A lot of my friends have been trying to tell me to slow down. (And its all out of love.) I love staying busy and having life be crazy. Even when I do homework I need to have music or the TV on or something. I love "noise" and people and stuff to do, etc. So when I do devotions on my own, I have a really hard time. I just can't seem to sit down in the silence and read or pray for longer than 5 or 10 minutes. I try, but my mind starts to wander and the silence sometimes actually hurts my ears.

Today I went to the compline service. I usually don't really go to that service, but I was with Leah, it was her birthday, and she wanted to go. I was like "why not?". The service itself was fine. God is good. But I realized that the beginning and end was a great time to really sit in the silence and try to listen to God. Lately I've really been realizing and learning about how half of prayer is in the silence and listening to what God has to say to you, not the other way around. So I sit there at the end of compline, and I listen. I hear nothing. I listen some more. I try to clear my mind of whatever song is running through my head and try to listen. Nothing. I stare at the cross. Nothing. I'm pretty much going insane. Just a single minute seems like forever. Why can't I listen??? The silence is deafening. I listen.





At this point I can't tell if that's what God is telling me, or it's me, or what. I'm so frusterated! I start yelling in my head WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME??? I'M WORKING MY BUTT OFF THIS SEMESTER, I WANT TO SERVE YOU!!!! I'M TRYING TO LISTEN! WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME???? I look at the cross again.


WAIT. - I don't have time.

PATIENCE. - I'm not good at that.


DIE. - WHAT?????

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. ~Luke 9:23

Silence is sometimes one of the worst things, because I don't want to hear what God has to say. But I need it. Listening to God is hard. I need help. What's he trying to say to you?

Back to today...

So that's what I thought of today when I was trying the exercises in Contemplative Youth Ministry. I really miss trying to be with God in the silence. I have time to relax, but how well do I use that time? If I really wanted to be in silence with God I could. So why don't I? I can't remember the last time I sat in silence with God before today. I always find excuses such as, I don't know what to pray about, or everywhere I go there are distractions, etc. Then when I actually do it, it's the hardest thing in the world.

But maybe it's supposed to be hard. I don't know. But I do know that I miss it. 

Let's try and stop talking about God, or reading about God. Instead we should be with God. What that looks like for you, I'm not sure. Maybe it's in silence, or maybe it's jamming out to music in the car. It's hard and it takes us out of our comfort level. That's OK. I think that's the way it's meant to be, or else it wouldn't make an impact on us. 

1 comment:

Share with me your thoughts! They make me smile.