Thursday, February 15, 2018

Invitation to Solitude & Silence * Book Open House #3

Welcome back to the Book Open House, friends.  Grab your copy of Invitation to Solitude & Silence ... or just consider the selected paragraphs from chapters 5 and 6 below.

And if you've got time, pour yourself a mug of something warm, put your feet up, and peek in on the follow-up discussions from the first two sessions.  Good stuff awaits you there.  The links are at the bottom of the post.  And it's not too late for you to jump on in to either conversation.

Love that you're here.  Love that this series is speaking into your life.  Love doing community with you. 




Chapter 5 - Rest for the Body
At first giving attention to my body in the context of solitude and silence felt uncomfortable and embarrassing, and I resisted it mightily.  I resisted not only because it didn't seem very spiritual {and I was into feeling spiritual} but also because I didn't like what I saw.  In addition to the more obvious symptoms of exhaustion, I started to become aware of the way I carried tension in my shoulders, the way I "forgot" to breathe when I was nervous or unsure or uptight, the way the cares and concerns of the day kept me awake at night because I don't know how to rest in God, the way certain activities energized me and others left me inordinately drained.  I wasn't sure what to do with what I was noticing.

Chapter 6 - Rest for the Mind
The human mind is perpetually busy trying to control things, trying to figure things out, clinging to the latest idea, grasping at the nearest straw.  It works very hard trying to make sense of things by endlessly seeking to put everything into categories and boxes and systems of thought.  Sometimes even God himself gets relegated to a category or a box in my mind rather than being free to be God in my life.  It seems that my mind will go to great lengths to fix things, control things and defend against anything that would disrupt my carefully constructed equilibrium.

Grab your keyboard and let's start talking ...

*

Beyond Words
Beginnings

Resistance
Dangerously Tired

Book Open House #4
Rest for the Soul
Emptiness

Book Open House #5
Facing Ourselves
Pure Presence

Book Open House Conclusion
Receiving Guidance
For the Sake of Others




*

visiting

26 comments:

  1. Hi Linda. Resting in the mind is what I especially need more of. I always try to make sense of things. I'm always over-analyzing. I wish my mind would take a rest. I can get so overwhelmed by trying to figure out the whys in life. But God is so patient with me. Again and again, I have to relinquish my whys and my control into His all-wise plan. I daily need to remember I don't need to understand. I just need to hold His hand. Love and hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear exactly what you're saying. Introspection can be a very good thing. Over-analyzing can be a dead end street that goes nowhere and leaves us frustrated and disappointed.

      There's a healthy line there. I think the kind of invitation we've been talking about these weeks leads us to that kind of place where it ends up being so much more about God and so much less about us and our trying to figure every last detail out ...

      Thanks for kicking off the conversation, Trudy.

      ;-}

      Delete
  2. You're not alone, friend. My mind does the same thing...maybe that's why I, too, carry tension in my shoulders. It's never been easy for me to rest my mind or my body. (Even when I try to rest my body, my mind seems to derail my efforts. :) ) Thanks for sharing more of your insights from this book, Linda. ((hug))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the whole idea of the mind - body - soul connection. As the Psalmist said, 'we are fearfully and wonderfully made.' We can't simply put one part of us in a box and pretend it's not impacting every other corner of our selves.

      These days our brains are so over-stimulated by our endless hours of frenetic online activity. No wonder we feel derailed.

      You said it well, Brenda ...

      Delete
  3. Good reminder Linda. Part of my "work" has been to be OK in the messy, unresolved, undefined messy middle. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever learn and then I remember "progress not perfection."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Progress, not perfection.'

      Yes, yes, Carol, you've said it well. His yoke is easy, His burden is light. Let's take the pressure off ourselves to have somehow arrived.

      Meanwhile? I'm glad you're here ...

      ;-}

      Delete
  4. Hooray - I finished both chapters. Resting the body was learned the hard way for me (Linda, remember my burn out in 1987 when you and the church ladies came to visit?). Wow-did I learn to hear the signals and signs of exhaustion. It is too scary to go back. Amen?

    Loved what Trudy said (I still can't reply on blog) but she sounded so poetic with a great truth: "I don't need to understand. I just need to hold His hand."

    Sorry to say, my mind is my worst enemy and Ruth brought out ​great thoughts to ponder. She brought out our striving to know things too great and too marvelous — things too complicated to comprehend. This reminded me of the verses in 2 Timothy: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,”. 2Tim 3:14. They pull me back to the place I need to be.

    In Practice section, Ruth asks “What is the ‘I don’t know’ place in your life” then sit with God with your question, resist the urge to grasp for answers and then rest in God’s presence with your question. Interesting and worth a try for me.

    Good points for pondering!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carol, you bring up a good point that this book is probably going to resonate most for people who've hit the wall and burned out {to some extent} along the way.

      Gosh, was it really 1987? Let's hear it for the 'church ladies!!'

      I'm glad you're finding some ponderables in the book. There's much food for thought ...

      Delete
  5. Linda,
    Though I admit I haven't been following along in your study, I just happened to pop in on your blog on a good day. I don't do "rest" very well....especially resting my mind. It's hard for me to remember the last time I simply sat and thought about nothing in particular. Nothing is so draining as a mind always in 5th gear. Needed this reminder today!!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I'm glad you're here. Period!

      And I hear what you're saying about our minds stuck in 5th gear. No wonder we're so exhausted.

      ;-}

      Delete
  6. Sweet friend! Last week we were out of town, but I wrote something in the discussion and when I hit "publish", it all disappeared so let me try this week to make a comment or two.

    I think the sneaky thing about the exhaustion that Ruth has written and we are discussing is how easily we push aside the first evidences of it and just keep going. We are so busy much of the time that we don't notice the shoulders or the increasing cups of coffee to keep going, etc. There are many reasons certainly including the fast-paced society in which we live where "being busy" seems to be lauded and considered a sign of success in nearly every realm. It happens in our churches and ministries because we feel guilty about saying "no" to any request that comes our way. It happens also because we measure ourselves by what we do instead of who we are. It is no shock to recognize that only when we come into solitude and silence will we begin to see the depth of our exhaustion whether it be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, etc.

    I am pretty well acquainted with experience with all the levels of exhaustion and places in my life where I was also "dangerously" tired. Two specific ones: 1) when I was teaching full-time and started graduate school while also being a wife, mom, and ministry leader; and 2) the last 6 years I was working on a church staff prior to retirement doing not only counseling, but ministry oversight of about 8 ministries, and than being asked to help our chief operating officer with staff development and relational issues.

    In both cases I knew I was tired, but not to the degree. In the last situation, it was well into the second year of retirement before I began to feel more like "my old self again" in every area. Most disturbing was how much full-time ministry had eroded my spiritual joy.

    Perhaps we also need to recognize that whatever situation or device may be at work in or on us, all of these are things the enemy uses to take us out if we succumb.

    Have a blessed day, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I absolutely agree that way too often we push aside those first signs, those blinking red lights that let us know that something's terribly off in our bodies or our souls.

      Why we do that {fear? busyness? perfection?} I'm not too sure, but when you find out, please let me know. I think it's a combination of this and that and the other.

      And yes, those of us who've been in the people helping field or involved in some sort of ministry leadership seem to be especially prone to dangerously tired, increasingly crispy, burnout.

      This is a tragedy. What a toll on our families, our work, our churches, our very souls.

      We hear each other very well, Pam. I am grateful ... and only wish you had been in my life back in the day when I hit the wall.

      Delete
  7. Rest for the mind!! That paragraph really speaks to me.. I may need to order this book... - www.domesticgeekgirl.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can encourage you to do that, Gingi!

      ;-}

      Delete
  8. Hello, friend. I am loving this book. That's all for today. HUGS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I am loving that you're here.

      For sure.

      Delete
  9. I loved how she says that talking about the moon is not the same as sitting in the moonlight and just being there in the moment. I use words so much that I struggle with just sitting and noticing things around me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh for sure ... we are a wordy people. No wonder we struggle so ...

      Delete
  10. I definitely find resting the body easier than resting the mind! The quote from chapter 6 is so accurate- constantly trying to control things and figure them out. I liked the advice to just sit before God with our questions without seeking answers, and where it talks about the Hebrew word for "Be still" meaning "let go of your grip." It's not easy but there is peace when we can let go of our own understanding and rest in God's presence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing the Hebrew meaning of "Be still" which you said is "let go of your grip"! Many times I find myself "being still" and wondering why it isn't working or I'm not "hearing" anything. It is because my grip is so tight on so many aspects of what is happening - I can almost see God trying to pry my fingers off life's situations. It is a strong word picture.

      Delete
    2. Hi Lesley ... I'm thinking that it's getting almost impossible to rest our minds since we're constantly online, overstimulated, overwhelmed, overloaded.

      I'd love for Ruth to add an updated chapter for this social media age we've found ourselves enraptured by ...

      Delete
    3. Marilyn, Yes! You make a really good point on why being still isn't working for some of us, why we find this whole idea pointless and fruitless.

      Profound ...

      I'm wondering if we're scared of what we'll discover or who we'll be if we lighten up even just a bit.

      Just thinkin' ...

      Delete
  11. Your blessing me with what you are sharing here Linda. I can't dive in yet, as soaking in something else, yet this aligns all with what God is trying to teach me as of late. I don't have to be in control for things to work out! And His sense of things is so much more better than anything I can analyze and craft in my own mind. It is a practice that I'm slowly learning....to rest in His ways completely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're speaking for lots of us, Lynn, who are continuing to learn that we don't have ultimate control over our lives ... and that His ways are so much better than ours.

      Always, always!

      I'm glad you're here ...

      Delete
  12. Oh, I know all about the forgetting to breathe! It caused all sorts of horrible aches and pains within me. I still find myself forgetting to take deep breaths when I'm tense or upset, but it's never spiraled out of control like it did about 8 years ago :). Birdwatching has provided a fun, relaxing outlet--an excuse to spend time in nature enjoying the wonders of God's creation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And when we're tense we breathe so shallow, don't we ...

      But birdwatching. Well, yes! It never crossed my mind. Brilliant.

      Delete

Dear Reader ~

Technical glitches happen.

* sigh *

Doesn't seem to be a place to leave your comment? Or your comment doesn't show up within an hour or so?

I'd love if you'd email me your contribution ... I'd be delighted to hand post it as soon as possible.

lindastoll @ juno . com

My apologies. And thanks for the grace ...

Linda