Any modern missionary knows that one of your tasks is to keep up the blog, preferably with lots of fantastic photos and inspiring stories. I haven’t even tried to write a blog in the last year. It’s not that I don’t have something to say or that nothing has happened. I just don’t know how to communicate adequately the depth of God’s work when this last year has been for me one of inner change and there are no photos to show what that looks like.
It’s also not that I haven’t been writing but my writing has been more personal reflection or for work and study. Writing something public has felt too confronting. I have this drive to be honest and vulnerable and that makes it hard to write what I imagine people want to read. In some ways it feels too much like striving to be part of a competition one can never hope to win. There is so much written now. Everyone is posting, tweeting, blogging and commenting that it feels like we are trying harder and harder to capture attention in an age of shortening attention spans and over stimulation.
Maybe I’ve just grown weary. Actually I know I have grown weary. The last 15 months have been a real challenge health wise for me. But the experience of lowered energy levels has made me search for slow and restful rhythms that are restorative and kind and I am losing interest in trying to impress anyone anymore.
The danger in being open and saying what is on my mind is that I may be misunderstood or risk rejection. If I express my frustration or rail against the injustice I see around me here in Cambodia, let alone in the news, my words may well be unbalanced, critical and unkind and 2015 seems to me like a time for greater gentleness, consideration and compassion. Maybe now is not the time for too many words.
Richard Foster, in A Celebration of Discipline, wrote “Superficiality is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem. The desperate need today is not a greater number of intelligent people or gifted people, but for deep people”.
As we start 2015 I believe we need a new depth of love and wisdom. We need spiritual discernment and to be moulded and led by the Holy Spirit.
One way to grow in this is to delve into the riches of ancient Christian devotional practices and explore how they can be used to deepen and reinvigorate our connection with God in a new age. There is no real need to invent something new. The new is so quickly superseded these days. Something new will soon be something old. We have a rich heritage that has been tested over the centuries. There is much to gain from those who have gone before us.
I am continuing to learn how I can take things such as the Jesus Prayer, the Examen, Sabbath, Lectio Divina and the use of daily offices and merge them into my 21st century life with all its challenges and underappreciated privileges.
How can you seek to grow in depth this year?