Late in August I had the privilege of attending Oasis: Refreshment for the Journey, our denomination’s annual convention. (Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches: http://www.baptist-atlantic.ca/news_events/oasis-2010-recap)
The keynote speaker was Ruth Haley-Barton of the Transforming Center. (http:/www.thetransformingcenter.org)
I went to the conference - frankly - tired. A bunch of close and difficult deadlines last year, feeling overworked and overwhelmed in my church duties and a possible change of direction in my writing career, plus other family things had left me with little energy. Going to the convention was just another event on my calendar. When Ruth spoke that first time, it was like she was speaking directly to me.
Her subject was burnout - the fact that we do do do all the time without taking the time to simply ‘be’ in God’s presence. Sitting quietly in God’s presence is how he speaks to us. Sitting in solitude and silence is how he talks to us. We are so busy with church activities that we forget to worship.
What she said resonated with me on a deep, soul level. I am going to be making some changes. I need a quiet time in the morning - not the kind where I quickly skim through a prescribed passage of scripture and then ream off a list of ‘prayer requests’, but a time when I can sit in silence for awhile and listen to God. I’m also going to take a Sabbath Rest. My body needs one day a week where I completely unplug from everything - and that means shutting off my computer and unplugging the modem.
Here’s the book I’m currently going through chapter by chapter: Sacred Rhythms. I highly recommend it.