A few weeks ago, I went to California for my cousin’s wedding. Becky (my wife) & I were staying in an Airbnb, which meant we had to find a grocery store, and other amenities we would utilize while we were there (most importantly, coffee shops!). As you would imagine, the first day or so we spent our time getting oriented by walking around with the GPS on our cell phones to find a grocery store that ended up being right around the corner, and a trendy coffee shop just down the street. You see, new places can be disorienting and uncomfortable at first as we figure out what’s what, as everything is new, unknown, and different from our current day-to-day patterns of living. By the end of the week, however, our phones remained in our pockets as we walked to the local gourmet ice cream shop, and coffee spots, like we had lived there for years.
Just like going to a foreign place, I think our experiences with spiritual disciplines like prayer, scripture, silence, being in an intentional community, and serving others can seem strange and feel uncomfortable. It’s as if we are encountering different customs, a different language, and we don’t know how to navigate this new landscape to important places – like the coffee shop. However, as we begin to immerse ourselves in these patterns of behaviour, something happens.
Soon, what felt unfamiliar, and awkward, begins to feel more natural, and what was strange becomes normal.
Not only this, but as these practices draw us into a deeper relationship with Jesus, and we see his Kingdom more clearly, the life we once knew…
The one filled with anxiety, where we would grasp at whatever would give us pleasure
The one where we fought for power, for our way, and for our preferences
The one where we constantly felt unseen, and alone
…Becomes the one which becomes strangely unfamiliar, and foreign to us. This is not to say that we don’t find ourselves in that place from time to time. But, we do not remain there because the cadence, or rhythm, we have developed in prayer, scripture, silence, community, and serving continues to call us out of that place, as it is no longer home, and back into the hope and life Jesus’ Kingdom offers.
Morning devotions, midday scripture reading, or evening prayer are all great ways to begin building these rhythms into your life…if only you are willing to feel awkward, and slightly disoriented for a little while.