slow down and connect
reposting this from march of 08 for my buddy russell…
when was the last time you had an in depth conversation about something that really mattered? unfortunately for many the answer will not be recent. its grown increasingly difficult in our noisy hectic culture to have long indepth conversations without being quite intentional about it. in fact there are many who are intentional and still dont reach any semblance of depth in their conversations. sometimes the difficulty wins and we give up – settling for menial verbal exchanges between employees or family or even God.
george barnas survey reveals that among xians over 70% could not remember the last time they felt strongly connected to God. but can that number be real? have we simply given up? what a frighteningly sad statistic.
interestingly enough there are 132 conversations between Jesus and someone else recorded in the gopsels. 6 take place in the temple and 4 in synagogues but 122 were with normal folk in normal settings outside ‘church’. how strange to see xians reverse that figure with our current ‘get em to church’ practices only to end up with a 70% failure rate on connecting with God himself – the whole purpose for being anywhere near a church to begin with. seems to me like there are 2 basic things we need to do if we are serious about having a conversation with God or anyone else. they are fairly simple:
as a follower of christ i realize that sabbath is a vitally important part of my life. not the setting aside of one day for the avoidance of work but making time to rest in God – to connect with him and be refreshed in his presence. this has been no easy task – its often meant sacrificing certain things i want to do in order to have time. and theres certainly no hope of any truly meaningful connection with my fellow man if my connection with God is askew.
as a sidebar – i understand that the guys who taught us all that we should start our day with 15 minutes in prayer were well intentioned but i think theyve done us a disservice. theyve unknowingly got us thinking that we can byte size time with God and still be everything we need to be. but i know that it takes me 15 minutes just to settle my mind and get comfortably quiet in order to listen. if thats all i make time for in a busy day until im laying in bed fighting only half-heartedly to keep my eyes open while i drowsily attempt another byte sized quarter hour prayer time – theres little doubt that my connection with God is going to suck. royally. by at least 70% if not far more.
so looking for larger chunks of time has brought me to realize that i cant stay up all night anymore like i used to in college (sigh) and that i need to get up a bit earlier than the children (big sigh) so that i can begin each day in sabbath.
and as i write this im thinking – holy toledo can i possibly be saying this? did i just commit before God and man to go to bed earlier and get up earlier for the sake of rubbing callouses onto my knees as i bend beside the bed to seek my creators voice? cant i just stick with the quicky prayer of ‘dear God – bless this day.’ as i wake up sleepy eyed to my daughter bouncing next to me on the bed and yelling ‘wake up papa! i want some chocolate milk’?
no. this takes a serious commitment – an honest time consuming investment – and i am ready to push myself beyond my present comfort level to connect with God and others in this way. i am also dedicated to relearning what conversation really is. i am specifically working on being an open and attentive listener bc i sometimes drift into the poor habit of preparing what im about to say instead of actively engaging God or whoever is speaking at the moment and what they are saying. i guess i could shrug this off to adhd but i dont. i have been really processing and working on ways to focus myself on the speaker in a way that helps me actively engage not only what they are saying but who they are as well. so with God i need to spend much less time talking and more time quietly listening. this is true of my relationship with others as well. i talk way too much. i need to listen.
so with all that said i wonder – are you as connected to God as you would like to be and if so howd you get there and if not what are you going to do about it?
if you dont believe in God you can still apply what im saying to everyday life in your regular relationships so please feel free to comment on those instead.
im looking forward to your thots…