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Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Can I Be Honest?

I have never been a big fan of "doing devotions." Oh, don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of God. I'm a big fan of learning to trust Jesus, to follow where He leads, and wrap my life in His ways. I'm a big fan of that journey, but I know that it is complex and challenging. Therefore, I "do my devotions" as one discipline of growth- a practice of learning to stop my busyness in order to listen and learn from Him.

But for someone who is prone to activity and doing, stopping all of that to sit, read, and listen feels, well, like a waste of time. I did ask if I could be honest, right? I mean, it seems like there are so many valuable ways to spend my time that contemplation and silence feel so unproductive and out of step.

I ran across something recently, though, that has really helped me shift my thoughts about "quiet time". This is from author H. A. Williams:
So also in the prayer of contemplation, when the mind and the feelings are quietened and we become passively receptive in the presence of God, our passivity is a deep and costly form of activity. It is action of the highest human order which always consists of letting go and letting God take on. And when at prayer we are thus receptively passively active so that we let go and let God take on, then it inevitably colors and gives wings to all we are and do.

Receptively passively active. Those words don't go together in my vocabulary, but I like the sound of them. This idea that listening to God and being with Him is a sort of activity of the highest caliber creates a shift in my thinking. I like that. I like the idea that when I am "letting go and letting God take on", I am doing more in that moment than I ever could in all of my working, striving and trying. If God takes on those things that I have been taking on, then He brings his infinite power and wisdom to issues that I have been stabbing at feebly in my humanity. God can, and does, change in a moment things that I cannot change in a lifetime.

So today, I am trying to walk and live with this idea of receptive passive activity, not as the end of my doing, but as the very highest expression of it. My work giving way to His work. My doing becoming His doing.

This is for all of you activists, producers, and doers out there- you know who you are! May you also know the grace and joy this week of being receptively passively active, and may you find that more is happening in these moments of "doing nothing" than you and I ever imagined.

To Him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more...

Nick

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