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Rest for the soul

by davesandel on December 10th, 2011

Practice from Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

From Chapter 7, “Rest for the Soul”

Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  – Jesus

Some days you can easily be with God with both gratitude and grief. At other times one or the other is predominant, and you need to go with what is most pressing. The following exercise is well suited to become a regular part of your extended solitude times as a way of resting in God.

Quiet yourself in God’s presence by taking several deep breaths. As you silence the music of your life, is there anything that is hurting these days, any grief you have been holding in? It need not be any­thing momentous; it could be something that feels relatively insignif­icant such as a hurtful interaction with someone who matters to you, or being left out of something you wanted to be included in. Allow whatever is weighing on your soul right now to come to the sur­face—whether it seems big or small.

Let yourself experience the grief, but do so with the awareness that you are not alone. You are in the presence of the One who loves you and bears your grief with you. Notice whether your body wants to express the grief through kneeling, lying flat on the floor, shedding tears or sitting in utter stillness, and allow that to happen. You may want to use these words as your prayer: “In silence my soul waits for you alone, O God; from you alone comes my salvation” (a personal­ization of Ps 62:1).

Is there something you are feeling especially grateful for these days? Where are you experiencing life and authentic connection with God and others?

Allow time to just experience your gratitude in God’s presence. Don’t feel you have to do anything except to bask in the goodness of God toward you. If you want to say anything to God or journal your thoughts, feel free to do so, but don’t feel that you have to.

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