As I read today’s reading in Outflow, I thought back to Monday night and the little exercise we all did.
The idea was to connect with God. For 15 minutes, we were to find a quiet place where we could – in our own way – meet with God. For some, it was sitting quietly. For others, it was reading the Bible. For others, it was prayer. Since we each have a PERSONAL relationship with God, it looks differently for each of us.
When we returned to the Teen Room, we began talking and I asked, “Was that hard? Was it difficult to connect with God for 15 minutes?” Most men shook their heads, indicating it wasn’t. I thought it was.
For me, it was hard because I had so many other thoughts going around in my mind. There were so many other voices speaking, it took awhile for me to drown them out by interceding for others. I tried to just sit and listen for God’s “still, small voice” but in that 15 minute span, I simply couldn’t. I guess it takes longer than 15 minutes for me to quiet all the rambling thoughts.
That’s what today’s reading is about. The authors tell us that there are two sources that keep us from hearing God’s voice, hurry and worry. For me, both of those came into play Monday night.
I’m thinking, “Okay, I need to get going right away after the guys get back to finish on time.” That thought also had an element of worry: “I’ve got a long way to go in this session. How am I possibly going to finish on time? Hmmm. Maybe I can skip a section. Which section should I skip?”
Of course, those thoughts happen much quicker than they do as I write this, but you get the idea. For a minute or two, I was trying to corral my thoughts and get back to praying and listening. But it was tough.
The key, as the reading points out, is to get the focus off of self. It’s to set our agenda and plans aside (or throw them out the window) and begin to focus on what God wants you to do with your time and your thoughts. As the end of the reading says:
“In John 14:26, Jesus said his Father would send the Holy Spirit to all who follow Jesus to teach them all things and to remind them of everything Jesus said in the Scriptures.” (p.70)