Last week’s blog entry, Spiritual Formation and Extroverts by Mike McNichols, got me thinking.
“One thing that I’ve noticed is that much of what is being practiced (solitude, silence, Scripture meditation, journaling, prayer practices, etc.)—all good things, mind you—seem to be best suited for people who are introverts.”
Alright, I’m an introvert – so why am I having issues with these spiritual formation practices? Aren’t I suppose to revel in the silence and solitude?
In my case, it’s not so much about introvert or extrovert. For me, it’s more about production. I have a need for immediate feedback and/or results. I need to feel that what I am doing is having an affect. I don’t do well with idle time. Getting from point A to point B in the quickest, most efficient manner, brings about great satisfaction. I really don’t have the time – in my mind – to sit quietly and wait for the Lord to speak.
How then, have I attempted to resolve this dilemma?
First, I reminded myself of Pastor Todd’s words of encouragement – that spiritual formation is a process. Then, I find a comfortable place to sit . . . quietly . . . for 5 minutes. I try not to think about anything, instead, I try to listen. The most difficult part of this, for me, is tuning out the world. Even in the most quiet place there is some sound that competes for my attention. Over time I notice that the duration of times spent in quiet increase naturally. Now it’s no longer a chore but a welcomed time. If I attempted 30 minutes right from the start I would have been frustrated or preoccupied with work, chores or even the birds chirping outside my window.
Whether introvert or extravert, challenge yourself to take small steps in your disciplines, I think you will find that these tiny morsels will increase your hunger.
One final thought that helps me. Most of us will remember Ps. 46:10 as:
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
Now read it in The Message:
Step out of the traffic! Take a long,
loving look at me, your High God,
above politics, above everything.
Step out of life’s traffic, out of those things that cause noise whether to your ears, mind or soul – and then look at God, i.e. LISTEN.
What little steps can you make to challenge yourself in order to be with God (hear from God, stop and experience the peace of God, pray to God, etc)?
– Joe Randeen