I've been trying to find the rhythm that honors the way God wired me. I'm an introvert. A connections pastor introvert. I like people. Love people. There's nothing fake in the way I interact with people, particularly around our gatherings as a church.
But as an introvert, I need down time. Alone time. Time to be, to think, to create, to rest. (Of course we all need this time - it's what Sabbath is about - even for extroverts.) I refuel by being away from people, especially lots of people. nd it's helpful to my "spiritual maturity" thermometer to see my inclination toward introversion as "contemplative." It is what it is, I suppose.
However, sometimes my effort to find rhythm turns into a temptation to swing the pendulum far to the other side. I'm tempted to pull away from relationships with friends. I'm tempted to not seek out time with people who make me better. Yes, like I said, I'm the connections guy.
I know, it's crazy, huh?
I came across a post I wrote several years ago. It was helpful to me. Maybe it'll help a couple other contemplatives too.
We contemplatives are an odd bunch. At least for those whose pathways are more action-oriented, we're an odd bunch. We love alone time. It seems like a normal expectation to find quiet. And when we're really focused, we like to find quiet with God.
In addition to the challenge of intentionally focusing our quiet on God, I'm realizing there are a couple other cautions for those of us who find meditation to be a comfortable and engaging connection with God.
First of all, we must be careful to not continually be seeking one more experience. One more time of feeling “spiritual”. One more time of feeling. We must remember that it is God we seek, not merely an emotional experience.
Secondly, we must not love the monastery so much – wherever that is for us – that we neglect experiencing relationships with those around us. God created us for each other. There is a sacred experience, a holy exchange between 2 or more Christ-followers who lean into each other’s lives - calling out the image of God, the formation of Christ in our lifestyle. Relationships are an encounter with God that must not be missed – even for the contemplative seeker.
By the way here's a verse I'm committing to memory lately from The Message - Ephesians 3.20:
"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us."
I want to create space and time for God's Spirit to work deeply and gently within me. How about you?