What do I need to do to become the me I want to be?
What would you say is the greatest enemy to the spiritual life? There may be a whole host of things, but would ‘hurry’ even make the list?
See what you think about these….
“All of my worst moments…are when I’m in a hurry.” [John Mark Comer]
“Love, joy, and peace are incompatible with hurry” – Love takes patience, joy comes from being present to the moment, peace….well, does it need explaining? [John Mark Comer]
“Our greatest danger is not that we renounce faith, reject relationships, deny what we know to be truly good….it’s that we’re so distracted, rushed and preoccupied…that we skim our lives instead of living them.” [John Ortberg]
Or going a little deeper…
“Today a number of historical circumstances are blindly flowing together and accidentally conspiring to produce a climate within which it is difficult not just to think about God or to pray, but simply to have any interior depth whatsoever….
We, for every kind of reason, good and bad, are distracting ourselves into spiritual oblivion.
It is not that we have anything against God, depth and spirit, we would like these, it is just that we are habitually too preoccupied to have any of these show up on our radar screens. We are more busy than bad, more distracted than non-spiritual….Pathological busyness, distraction, and restlessness are major blocks today within our spiritual lives.” [Ronald Rolheiser]
Does any of this ring true for you?
It’s all taken from a book that is right now impacting my life. The author, John Mark Comer, describes his experience of burnout. At a point where, from the outside, he looked most successful – leading a multi-site church of several thousand, writing bestselling books, speaking internationally – on the inside his heart, soul, and relationships were falling apart.
The opening quote came from a conversation with his mentor in the midst of this crisis….leading to a season of radical changes to his pace and shape of life…that in turn led to the writing of this book.
He gives the invitation:
If you’re weary….
If you’re tired of life as you know it….
If you have a sneaking suspicion that there might be a better way to be human….
That you might be missing the whole point….
If you’re ready to go on a counter-intuitive and very counter cultural journey to explore your soul in the reality of the kingdom….
Then enjoy the read.
When I (finally) picked up this book on holiday, that invitation was like a slap in the face and spark to my soul all at once. I had stumbled exhausted into holiday, knowing something needed to change, and with a suspicion this sense of pressure, inadequacy, restlessness was more internal than external…and here I found language to name it and practical wisdom to walk in a different way.
Over the next weeks we’ll be sharing this journey through this blog, reflecting Comer’s writing and our experience of living it out.
Comer’s invitation echoes another one….
Whether you believe he was divine or not, very few people would disagree that Jesus lived a life of love, peace, joy, and wisdom. Yet we far more often turn to Ted Talks for help rather than thinking of learning from Jesus how to actually live our lives.
In this invitation, Jesus does not give us an escape from our frantic, distracted, culture…instead he gives us something harder yet far more able to bring real change and lasting freedom. He gives us equipment – learn from me, take my yoke upon you – his teachings, his way of life.
And so we will over these coming weeks be exploring the equipment Jesus gives…the way forward….the way into freedom from shallow living, stretched to exhaustion, skimming through life.
This is right at the heart of who we are called to be as Church at Barking Riverside, God’s family in this place. We exist to create space for Jesus in our daily lives, together and for others. We do that through habits, hubs and hands. Habits are simple actions we take and choices we make to seek to learn from Jesus how to live.
During our last term we began the final jigsaw pieces of our rhythm of life as a church family. You can find them here – our main place of being church together is in hubs, with monthly gatherings for worship and celebration on the first Sunday and third Monday of the month. We encourage each other in growing in simple habits to create space for Jesus in our lives, saying the Lord’s prayer at noon, reading a chapter of John’s gospel each week, committing to meeting together…. And we share this life with others intentionally and personally through our hands.
Our focus as a church family this term is not to start anything new, but to strengthen and share what has already begun. And through this blog we’ll be doing that in our personal lives exploring how to learn from Jesus the art of a life shaped by love, joy, peace.