Friday, February 01, 2013

A New Chapter

I am acutely aware today of the gift that prayer and spiritual discipline is in my life. Please don't construe that to mean that I am by any means consistent or good at it, but I have the skills and knowledge that challenge me to engage with God on a level of communication. Like everything in my life, my spiritual journey is marked by different seasons and different practices. The one thing I can always count on is my opportunity to pray. I am confident that I know how to do this one thing whether it feels amazing or not. This week, I was trying to figure out how to share that gift with my students. Students who I am aware, face increasingly large challenges with incredible noise shouting unhelpful solutions at them. Prayer, a moment of quiet, would seem helpful. But the reality is most of us are afraid of quiet or lack of sound. We are so afraid that we actively try to fill any gaps with sound. I am so afraid of the silence that I keep talking even when I'm praying. I think I'm afraid of hearing something I don't want to be held accountable for. So, this week as I was praying for worship in one of my classes, I recognized that my blood-pressure rising as I heard my students being distracted. "Practice what you preach," I heard my conscience say. I asked for patience and rested in the silence for a few seconds. I'm not sure what I expected to happen . . .but I was pleasantly surprised to recognize the wave of peace and confidence and LOVE that filled that silent space. Those gifts allowed me to continue teaching the class without animosity or frustration. I am reminded that all the knowledge in the world cannot be a substitute for the experience of faith. It can challenge you to put it into practice, or be a tool in your back pocket waiting for an emergency, or a gift that grows as you put into "practice what you preach."

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