Spacious Attentiveness

During Leadership Transformations recent celebration of our 8th Anniversary, we held an event entitled “Re-Ignited: Kindling Our Inner Fire for God.” During one of the plenary sessions I spoke about “Feeding the Neglected Soul,” and suggested five inviting ways we can nurture our souls.
The first way we feed our neglected soul is to open ourselves fully to receive the abundance of our Heavenly Father’s loving embrace (blog entry 11.18.11).
The second way I suggested is to trust in the Spirit to create from deep within us a transformative walk of faith (blog entry 11.28.11).
Thirdly, we feed our soul by leaning fully into the manifold gifts of Sabbath (blog entry 12.12.11).

And fourthly, we feed our soul by practicing life-giving spiritual disciplines in order to become more spaciously attentive to God. Jesus himself maintained such openness to the Father throughout his earthly ministry. He also invited his disciples to follow in his footsteps and do likewise. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31) he called, in anticipation of showing compassion on the crowds and miraculously feeding the 5,000.

The spiritual disciplines are means by which we experience the richness of the grace of God. They open us up to the wider possibilities of love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and service to others. The disciplines remind us about the “one thing” that matters most, our intimacy with God, out of which we give our lives away in Jesus’ name.

As you consider for yourself what spiritual disciplines are most life giving to your soul (of which there are dozens to choose from), let me encourage you in a small handful of ways:

a) In your prayer closet, always begin with the Word of God. Contemplatively receive the Word in a slow and deep read, embracing every word as a gift from the Father.
b) In your prayer chair, listen for the voice of the Spirit whispering in the ear of your heart. In your prayers, purposefully shift away from doing all the talking to God and tip the scale more toward listening for his still small voice.
c) In your prayer chamber, reflect on your life in Christ. Consider ways God’s faithfulness has been previously exhibited in your life and give thanks. Deem ways you can reflect the love of Jesus in the coming day(s) and walk forward faithfully and intentionally.

In the midst of a busy life, be reminded today to prioritize the care and nurture of your soul. Begin your day in that quiet place of biblical receptivity, listening prayer, and faithful reflection. As you become more spaciously attentive to God, may your soul be nourished by his empowering presence and peace.