This summer a common theme across all I have read and heard from pastors I have met with is the importance of slowing down, reflecting, praying, and the practice of solitude.  So I have worked to take this on as a discipline this summer.  To slow down, to have space for solitude and reflection.  It is amazing when you slow down, when you listen, when you make yourself open, what you will see and hear.

One thing that is clear theme from my reflections so far: I am grateful.  I am on a sabbatical generously funded by the Lily fund, sent and blessed by a church I have served for the last 8 years.  I have a beautiful wife, and two incredible children who give me great joy to be both a husband and father.  All of this has been here before, but it took slowing down, to notice it.

One book I read so far on sabbatical was by Chuck DeGroat, titled Wholeheartedness.  He tells a story of a client meeting with him, who had a great passion to find God in his life.  So he took on all kinds of spiritual habits, patterns, and means of serving both God and at his church, until he ran himself to exhaustion.  Then one day he mentioned how this whole time he was chasing after God, and when that exhausted him and he had to slow down, he got really present to the fact that God did not need to be pursued “out there,” because God was already here.

I have been so blessed this past month, in all the ways I have seen God at work in my family, community, and other colleagues who have I had a chance to meet with.  I have experienced deep sabbath, I have seem glimpses of God’s shalom, and been encouraged by all God is doing in my life to grow me to be the man He is growing me into.

My prayer for you, is that you can set aside sometime for deep listening to God and solitude away from all the noise and demands that you face each day, so that God can remind you that He is not “out there” waiting to be found, but instead is already with you and at work in your life, if you have eyes to see it.