Reflection, Part 1

When was the last time you relaxed? I don’t mean in your easy chair. When was the last time you relaxed in your heart? My exterior life is mixed with relaxation to balance the routine demands I face. I ride my bicycle in the morning to relax my mind. I walk the dog in the evening to relax the tension in my soul. I sit by the fire in my chair at night to relax my body. On the weekends, I putter.

Yet I have spent most of my interior life—my heart’s passions—pushing, driving, striving, grasping, and longing.

Late in the fall I took my annual, personal retreat. It is a time for me to be by myself for several days, to walk, and pray, and read, and sit in the woods listening to the squirrels and birds and wind. It is a concentrated time for me to listen for Father’s voice telling me what is on His mind. It is a special time to plan, strategize, assess, and make course corrections in life’s journey.

This year I took very little with me as I sank deep into the Ozark Mountains high up in the state of Arkansas. My intent was to listen. My agenda had one bullet-point: To give Father freedom to express His perspective about whatever He wanted to discuss.

And I strove, and I pondered, and I drove, and I bumped against that bullet-point. I vowed in my thoughts, I will accomplish this! I will put a check mark beside that bullet! I will be able to give a report of my success while on retreat! And I pushed, and I shoved, and I fought valiantly in a losing battle against frustration and temptation, and I felt panic when the sun set and there was only one day left of my retreat.

The story doesn’t end there, but “part 1” does. Next, I’ll tell you what I did about my bullet point.