Reblogged from: Midweek Manna
Every time I go into a bookstore, I find myself walking through the "Self Help" section. I go there to see what the current trends in Self Help are about. Forbes magazine reported in 2008 that Americans spent 11 billion dollars purchasing self help books. Today the estimated revenue for self help books is around 12 billion. It is amazing what we turn to in times of trouble.
The Psychic industry in 2012 reported that it's revenue was about $2.1 billion dollars. A session today can be $200 and there are even corporate rates. I chuckled at a pastor who thought out loud that maybe she ought to just have a number where persons could get pastoral care for $3 - $5 a minute.
Then I read the words of Ruth Haley Barton in her book, Sacred Rhythms where she admits "I cannot transform myself or anyone else for that matter. What I can do is create the conditions in which spiritual transformation can take place, by developing and maintaining a rhythm of spiritual practices that keep me open and available to God."
How is your practice? Practice makes perfect. When I am stressed, I often go out to a putting green and just putt. I practice putting more than any other part of my golf game. I have learned that I do not practice making putts. I practice making strokes. If the stroke is good, I made the putt whether it goes in or not. My focus shifted years ago from making putts to making a good stroke. Good strokes make putts.
In all of life ritual helps us especially during the hard times. There is a rhythm of spiritual practices that can speak when there is no other voice. There is a rhythm that can calm the angriest of seas. They are there before us if we will yield to them.
How open are you to God? Openness is difficult whether we acknowledge it or not. We can become secure in our own little world. Our womb is comfortable. As church folks we can insulate ourselves from the world. Perhaps the greatest fear is not what God is going to do with others but what God is asking ME to do and to become. What walls and barriers must fall in order for God to reign? What is God inviting me to let go of in order to hold on to what God would offer?
How available are you to God? For many there is on room in the inn for Jesus to be born! We fill our lives so full that God cannot get into our schedules. As a pastor, one of the most frustrating lines I hear when asking people to be involved in the work of the church--"I do not have time" or "I am too busy!" I like to tell my folks that if you are too busy when Jesus calls--you are too busy!!! God needs busy people.
Quit trying to help yourself. Create the holy habits that create the space for God to do what only God can do. Make yourself open and available to God and God's work. You will not regret it.
Pray for me as I pray for you.