One of the big changes in my life over the past year has been my appreciation for and cultivation of more of a rhythm, a flow to faith and life. This has been a challenge for me as I am a bit (OK, more than a bit) Type A. Going a million miles an hour and having many irons in the fire as been my way as long as I can remember. I laughed when people talked about “balance,” I felt they were weak, whiners, lazy, nice people who didn’t get the realities of life and ministry.
I still have judgment about those seeking balance, but I for the last year, I have become about living a rhythm with huge periods of time for abiding in God. For me this means prayer and meditation, more time for art and scripture and less things on the daily “to do” list. What I am learning is that the more time I pray, the more time I just sit before God and ask for the Spirit’s direction the less concern, disquiet and obstacles I experience.
Why I started moving in this different direction isn’t totally clear to me. Certainly, some of it had to do with a general sense that how I was living was less than satisfying. I was finding there was always more to do and the constant need to get things done was gratifying on one level, but on another level I was less and less able to ignore, very unsatisfying. Yes, it was great to be needed, to help move things forward (that was the gratifying part) but where these the best things to spend my time and energy on? I mean after 20 years of ministry, so much of what needed to be done I could be do in my sleep, & did I want to sleepwalk through the next 10-20 years? Honestly, I had to say no.
Ever waked up one day and think, “this just isn’t what I want out of life anymore”? It is a strange and wonderfully disorienting feeling to look at one’s life and think maybe there is another way to live. Of course it is also scary as hell.
But more than the scary part, it is an isolating feeling. Most people don’t understand and who can blame them? Five years ago I would have looked at my choices and not understood either. Fortunately, I have a couple coaches who have walked this same path and so have helped me understand where I am at and what are the opportunities present in this time of change. Today I had a chance to spend time with one. I was sharing about my neighborhood house church and its various ups and downs and he was able to encourage me by letting me know normal all that is.
His words helped give credence to what I was intuiting in this summer season for my house church, which was so freeing. Instead of pushing things forward and making things happen, I am relaxing and making space for Sabbath for them and for me too.
So I have been doing this new work for a year now. The House Church Network is up and running. I have had success and many positive experiences. I am grateful for the people I have met in this year and the opportunities I have had to test out these ideas. I have also found I have much to learn and still figure out but in how I live this new rhythm and in how I live into this new way of being church.
I hear this summer’s call as a time to think, to pray, to be and to discern God’s movement for year two for the HCN. I am getting back into this way of living again as I take big blocks of time for prayer and just being. I figure it will be a summer to listen to God and see where the Spirit is moving.
So, I am going to make a cup of tea and spend several hours in prayer and listening. And there is nothing I would rather do.