“The dispostion to accept rather then undergo—which is surely a form of charity, of love, a giving of oneself both to God and to his words.” – Father Déchanet
By nature, we want to accomplish. And even though many of us have heard, and quoted, “the difference in Christianity is that it isn’t about what you do, but what Christ has done…” we seldom slow down and allow time for God’s truth to really transform us.
I remember hearing yogis say that they love and believe in yoga because it changed their lives. Even though I believe they are missing out of the best part by not choosing Christ over their self, through their practice and desire to live in the moment, they are intentionally seeking to find what is better.
In my own asana (the yoga poses) practice, I know the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of yoga. There is nothing magical about the poses/exercises. The slowing down of the breath and intentionally moving with each breath, scientifically tells your nervous system that it is time to slow and calm down. The movements are just using the tools God gave us at creation. is [God’s] Word, as a critical part of each day. It is requiring patience in a new way, and it is pushing me to really learn to wait on Him to renew my mind. Learning to rest and be quiet, instead of my typical practice of surging ahead through my daily scripture quota and necessary prayers for my check off list.
Sometimes my own intentions start to waver and my gaze starts to wander. Other things begin to look more appealing—and not so humbling. Learning the practice of silence has been a life changer for me. Originally, my thoughts on meditation were all negative. And don’t get me wrong, when we are seeking only to find our true self, and the self study stops there—then I agree. I don’t believe peaceful hearts and minds has the potential to change the world if their inner peace is the end goal. Changing the world requires our lives to become more complicated, not less. To create true change, we will not be able to avoid suffering, nor should we. Change takes grit. So does learning to live in the presence of God. God loves us and desires only the best for us. The best comes when we are in relationship with Him.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” – Isaiah 26:3 (The Message)
Relationship with God requires many of the same practices as relationships with other people do. The listening skills that we use hear other people, we need to hear Him and understand His Word. The perspectives and goals that can be detrimental to our relationships with other humans, can be just as damaging to knowing Him. There are some differences though. Unlike people, who are just as falliable as we are, God is perfect. And He requires that we place our confidence entirely in Him. I will be honest, this is really hard for me to do. I really like to believe that sometimes I can foretell the future, and that I know what is best. However, God is the best and the He knows not only the future, but also my future (Psalm 139).
Stopping the chatter in our own minds (silence) is when God can begin to show us where we are still clinging to our own wants. Silence teaches us how to see where our perspective gets in the way of hearing from Him. When I get stuck in my own patterns of thought, I can easily convince myself of “truths” that aren’t really true–all based upon on how I feel and what I have previously experienced. I may have been saved by grace, but if I leave no room for the Holy Spirit to work in my inner most being, I will not live the full life He has intended. Freedom comes when we live aware of and within His continual presence, not apart from Him.
When my gaze shifts down toward myself, my patience, endurance, and attitude also decrease. I am no longer guided by a love deeper and far more steady then my own, I am suddenly working from my own effort. (Ask Mat and our kids, own effort is far this enduring.)Once again, what scripture do we often hear (if you move in christian circles), but not as often seen lived out? “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, throwing off anything that hinders…” Romans 12:1-2 (paraphrased)