I love being able to stay at home with my kids. It's a gift I try not to take for granted.
But the downside of being engaged with them all day is that I don't often get time for personal reflection. Even in the stillest moments, my mind feels fragmented into the pieces of my life all around me: meals, laundry, gardening, dishes, potty-training, exercise, reading time, church stuff. There is so much to keep track of that my lack of peace-time can begin to take it's toll.
A friend lent me a book called Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices that Transform Us by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, and I searched through it to find something that might help me focus on Christ, even in those tiny quiet moments. I came across two that have given me some lightness, some extra joyful oomph to get me through the day.
The first is the Prayer of Recollection. It's desire is "to rest in God...to calm and heal my fragmented and distracted self." The way I approached this was in a sort of meditative, yoga pose in which I recited Psalm 116:7: "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you."
The first few times I did this, I tried to recognize what kinds of things popped up in my mind during this time, noticing and noting the mental distractions that can hinder me from stillness. It has really helped to center me either at the beginning or the end of the day.
But the second discipline has been revelatory for me not because it is something new but because it is the very thing I haven't had time for:
The desire here is "to wake up to the presence of God in all things." It talks of walking, observing, listening, recognizing the presence of Jesus all around.
This is when I realized that the poetry I write is a way of finding the presence of God.
My routine for writing poetry usually involves taking a walk outside and simply listening for a sound in the stillness or watching for something that I've never noticed before. When I have time to write poetry, I feel such a sense of rightness inside myself, a sense of centeredness and joy.
I think this is what I miss when I don't have time for personal reflection or writing. I miss seeking the light and handiwork of God.
Because poetry is my prayer.
Even when there is chaos or pain or just simply busyness all around, when I listen or watch for a word or metaphor to describe what I witness in the quietness of my mind, I am seeking God.
What are disciplines you've found that help you seek God amidst the busyness of life?