This first week of the year, people have been trying to figure out what they should change in 2018.
How do we decide what gets onto our resolution list?
– We look at what’s not right in our life: our finances, our health, our relationships, our schedule, our calendar, our work situation, whatever is not as perfect as we think it should be gets the nod.
– From that list we create a list of changes that must be made – and we resolve to make changes, create new habits, start new routines, etc.
I heard two bits of advice about resolutions this week that were helpful and interesting:
1) It’s going to take you 3-6 weeks to start a new routine, so don’t expect this to be easy. Your brain takes 60 days to recognize and activity as normal and not take as much effort to do. Good luck. It’s gonna take some work.
2) Don’t make resolutions. Instead set goals; things you want to achieve, and move towards those goals with strategy, wisdom, and of course effort/work.
What if I told you that your only resolution this year should be to sit down more? You’d think I was crazy. You’d think I’m promoting unhealthy living. You’d tell me that no one would publish my idea (if in fact I’m looking to promote this idea to the public). No one wants to hear that. Who actually thinks that sitting more can change your life? No one.
BUT…it’s not the sitting that changes things, but who you are actually sitting with.
Spiritual Directors would encourage us to develop a discipline in our life called ‘sitting with Jesus’. How does that sound? Sitting with Jesus? How? Why? When? With what purpose in mind?
Well…we’ve been talking about being present over perfect. God being present with us & Us being present with others. We’re going to close this series off next week (in our next post). But before we get there, can we simply remind ourselves that we can and should and desperately need to…be present with Jesus – sit with Jesus?
Anne Lamott, the spiritual writer, grew up in an Atheist home. Her Father even made her siblings sign a contract to that effect as early as 3 year old. One problem, she began to backslide into faith. She said “Even as a child, I knew that when I said hello, someone heard.” This of course led to a life of hearing Jesus and being with Jesus.
Ruth Barton, a spiritual director, writes about a woman sitting in a catholic church. A preist discovered her with her head in her hands. After an hour or so, judging her to be in distress, he said, is there anyway I can help you? She replied with, “No thank you Father” “I’ve been getting all the help I need until you interrupted me”
Ruth goes on to say (in her book Sacred Rhythms)… “Being with Jesus isn’t the same as problem solving or fixing, because not everything can be fixed or solved. Rather, it means allowing God to be with me in that place and waiting to do what is needed…or for what only God can do”
Henri Nouwen says, “God is a God of the present and reveals to those who are willing to listen carefully to the moment.”
Sitting with Jesus is the one thing you must add to your plate this year!
Some of us are too afraid to do this. We’re nervous about opening up to God; scared to let him in. Thomas Merton’s response to this is… “To be unknown to God is entirely too much privacy.”
One prayer that can help us purposefully sit with Jesus is St. Patrick’s prayer from the late 3rd century. We need help and inspiration to do this sincerely. St. Patrick’s words are compelling, essential, as well as helpful and useful. Our challenge? Use these words, learn these words, memorize this prayer, as you attempt to add this discipline to your daily life.
You can find a more complete version of this prayer HERE. For our purposes we will use an abridged and shortened version. Read each line with the words in parenthesize in mind.
Some ideas to help us sit with Jesus (1-5 from @richvillodas)
1) befriend silence.
2) normalize boredom.
3) embrace the truth that prayer is not something we master, but an act that forms us.
4) pray the words of scripture and others who have gone before us.
5) trust that God is always waiting for you with open arms.
6) sit down…or walk…or run…or whatever helps you be present with Jesus.