Friday, 29 February 2008

Retreat in Daily Life (update)

A while back I mentioned that I was taking part in a "retreat in daily life" through our local Christian counselling centre. I'm now over half-way through and it's been an interesting ride so far.

The first two weeks were great... really positive and very helpful. Last week, however, was a bit of a struggle as nothing seemed to "hit the spot" in my quiet time. I was using the Sacred Space material this week, and it just didn't quite seem to do it for me. Having said that, though, I still felt the benefit of starting the day with a quiet time.

One of the good things about this retreat has been the chance to talk things over with my "spiritual director", Joan. In talking to her, and talking about the frustration I felt this week with the quiet time, things started to come out that made me realise that, even though I hadn't been totally happy, God was still using that time to speak to me. Now, no doubt I would have realised that myself eventually, but I reckon I cottoned on much more quickly because I was talking things through with someone.

We talked a while today about Lectio Divina... the practice of reading a passage of scripture through and just seeing what jumps out at you... and then focusing on that and seeing what it is that God is trying to tell you through that phrase or word. So I'm giving that a go in the next week... picking a passage (most likely the ones from Sacred Space) and just seeing what it is that God wants to tell me.

What I'm starting to realise is this:
  1. Spending time with God involves highs and lows (nobody said this was going to be ground-breaking stuff... just bear with me). The highs are great, but even the lows are used by Him to speak to you.
  2. Talking things over with someone you can trust is immensely beneficial
Officers are encouraged to find mentors who can help them in their spiritual journey. The thing is that, often, officers don't have many contacts outside their own corps, and it's difficult to be totally open and honest with someone who may be quite close to any situations you're involved in. But I'm understanding more and more the importance of finding that mentor. My journey with Joan will end in a few weeks time, so I'm already thinking about what happens next.

Hmm... kind of a hanging end there... but that's actually how I feel at the minute. I'm in the middle of something. We'll just have to see what else God says and how things pan out :)


wcs53 said...

Hi Chris,

Have you read 'The Sacred Way' by Tony Jones. It has some great stuff in there on Spiritual Disciplines and Practices, as well as some good links to resources. It has certainly helped me over the past year.


Chris said...

I haven't, William, but I'll keep an eye out for it. I've read A Celebration of Discipline, which is also about spiritual disciplines and practices, but it was pretty tough going.

wcs53 said...

I have read 'Celebration of Discipline' as well, but 'The Sacred Way' is definitely an easier read. It is also very practical in that he offers many different suggestions for practice. It's published by Zondervan.