Day to day, my life can be pretty hectic. I generally have about 5 classes per semester, I work at Trinity Lutheran Church, Fairview Village anywhere between 20-40 hours a week and I work as a very part-time spiritual counselor at Martin Luther Silver Springs about 5-8 hours a week. Needless to say, I work a lot.
On top of my academic work, I also have my own personal requisites that need maintenance. I am an alcoholic and so I attend weekly 12-step meetings that help maintain sobriety. Along with this program comes other “work” as well. We believe in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous that the best way maintain sobriety is through a few things: a community that will hold each other accountable, through working the 12-step process (which is pathway to self-discovery in who you were, who you are, and who you can be through the guidance of a sponsor, prayer and meditation), and finally (and most importantly) by serving others in positive ways (especially those who share the same addictions we have and we can possibly help to find a new path). This is some of the most rewarding and spirit filled work that I know.
Then I have the many joys of my life. I have my relationships with loved ones near and far. I play board games or just spend time hanging out with the people I love. Occasionally I can just sit in front of the TV and watch a few episodes of Game of Thrones and just turn off my brain for a minute.
But it is amazing how through all of these relationships and varieties of work, I don’t often give space and time for just God. Now as a Lutheran with a fairly high spirituality, yes, I absolutely believe that God is with me 24/7 and is with everyone, all around us, constantly. But, how often am I actively listening? How often do I actually make “space” for God?
The truth is… never. I fill that space with everything else. I fill it with work, meetings, friends, movies, work, family, dinner, work, food, sleep, work… you get the point. There is space all around us but we fill it immediately before leaving it open for God.
Psalm 46, “Be still and know that I am God,” is often beat over the head so often that I think it has lost some of its meaning. And so, I have found comfort in a different passage that speaks to this “space.”
Isaiah 30:15 states, “By waiting and by calm shall you be saved; in quiet and in trust lies your strength.”
This weekend I went on a directed retreat up to the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, PA and I left space for God. I didn’t leave the space in the hustle and bustle all around me. I didn’t leave it in the kitchen where I know I’d be distracted by cooking. I didn’t leave it near all of my work that I had not yet done and would call my name as soon as I began to “seek” God.
I needed to actually get away and make deliberate time and space for God. I needed to get away from every distraction so that my heart and mind could truly be open to listening instead of trying to answer every other question.
The moment that I stepped out of the way and left space for God, God began leading me and speaking to me and guiding me in ways that I never thought possible. I walked 5 miles around a snow-covered property. I trampled through snow mounds and walked up and down hills, I looked out into the distance for hours. God led me through each path, showing me different things, showing me paths that had been paved and paths untrodden.
When I finally left space for God, God was there waiting to show me the way. But the way was not easy, it was often difficult to walk through and by the end, I was exhausted. I needed to kick off my boots, take a hot shower and breath. But, in that exhaustion, I had never felt more alive and I understand my calling more than ever.
“In waiting and by calm shall you be saved; in quiet and in trust lies your strength.”