The Weekly Word: Stop, listen and reflect
By Robert Williams, Lead Pastor at The Bridge Church
How are you handling quarantine?
I’ll be honest with you. It’s been a rollercoaster of emotion for me.
Some days I’ll be really great and feel like I’m on cloud nine. Other days, I couldn’t feel lower or more depressed. I imagine that we are all on our own little ride of sorts, throughout this mess, but no matter where you are at, can I encourage you to do something?
Take advantage of this time. Do all you can to take advantage of this time. I think it’s pretty clear that many of us are being forced into positions where we have to slow down, and I think God wants to speak to us in that time.
The other day, instead of going into the office, I took a retreat day.
What’s a retreat day? A retreat day is a day alone with God. A retreat day is where I intentionally take an entire day to stop, listen and reflect on what God is doing in my life and in our church.
I usually go out to Cedar Springs Camp and sit in a room or cabin with my Bible, a journal and a pen. I’ll read a bit. Journal some thoughts or prayers. Pray. Take a nap (rest is spiritual), and just do all I can to seek God while I pray about life, over my family, and for our church.
My goal is to do this once a month. It’s a routine I began to take seriously a little over a year ago and it’s become one of the most life-giving things that I do.
As I drove home from my retreat day, I came to the realization that I am at my worst when I am being reactionary.
I’m not the most quick-witted individual. I don’t say that as insecurity, it’s just not who I am. I never have been. I’m always the guy that thinks of the perfect thing to say, hours after the conversation has taken place. Do any of you relate to that?
This is why stopping to think and pray is so important to me. I’ll admit, I haven’t had a retreat day in quite a long time, but it was so absolutely necessary for me, and I gained so much peace and clarity from it that I didn’t have before and couldn’t have found otherwise.
Stopping to reflect is necessary for us all. You are not the exception. We as Americans just stink at it. We don’t make it a priority. We make excuses.
Not some, but all of the greatest leaders this world has ever known spent lots of time in prayer and reflection. Men like Martin Luther, John Wesley, C.S. Lewis and Charles Spurgeon.
If you think about it, so much of Scripture might not have been written if the apostles and prophets and leaders throughout history didn’t stop to listen and reflect.
In Psalm 46:10, God commands: “Be still and know that I am God. …”
Notice he didn’t say, “Be busy and know that I am God. …” He didn’t say, “Be involved in everything and know that I am God. …” He said “Be still.”
Sometimes we are like my 9-year-old son and struggle to sit still, don’t we? But we need to!
What do you do to stop and listen? How do you make time to journal and reflect? What works for you?
I’ve pushing pretty hard on our people about journaling. Have you given it a shot before? Even it’s just a few sentences a day? Have you explored a few different ways to stop and reflect?
Make it a goal in the next month to take one day and give it a shot. I promise you won’t regret it. Take advantage of this time. Don’t waste it.