Keeping the Focus

My three month sabbatical is over. I've now been back to my work as pastor for ten days. In just about all respects, it's good to be back. It's fun to catch up with people and hear what they're doing. It's great to be back in downtown Boulder and soak up all the activity and energy, especially with the CU students starting their school year.

What I'm finding hard about readjusting, however, is finding practical ways to live out of that centered place I discovered in my time of rest. Now, with to-dos, juggling schedules, engaging people, managing calendars, doing advance planning, attending meetings--these things clamor for attention and fill the formerly quiet place. The question for me--and maybe for you, too-- is how to preserve the center, how to amidst it all, recall God's voice saying "be still and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).

Certainly, the spiritual disciplines are essential. They push back the other voices, at least for a time. They ground me in that which is permanent and life-giving. For me, one practice that's helpful right now is the Prayer of Recollection. I discovered it this summer in my study of spiritual formation. Apparently, the early Christians, prior to hearing the Word of God in public worship, "recollected" their true selves by rehearsing together who they were in Christ. It was a time to resist false idols and false identities and to lay claim to their core identity as beloved in Christ. I've developed a sample prayer below that you can copy and paste into your word processor to fill out and personalize. Regularly recollecting myself with my own version of this prayer is helping me touch base with my core identity in Jesus. It's allowing me, at least somewhat, to keep the focus. I hope it's helpful to you, as well.

A Prayer of Recollection

(A basis for this can be found in Philippians 3:7-9.)

Father in Heaven, in faith I affirm today:

•That at my core, I am not:__________________________________________________


(list any relational roles you play, such as: a father, mother, son, daughter, wife, husband, friend, etc);

•That at my core, I am not: __________________________________________________


(list a vocation you might have, such as: a caregiver, accountant, teacher, attorney, nurse, doctor, manager, boss, employee, entrepreneur, pastor, businessperson, student, volunteer, etc);

•That at my core, I do not need:______________________________________________.


(list a phrase that speaks to your temptation: people to like me, people’s approval, to be successful, to make a lot of money, to control my life and circumstances, to look good, to be attractive, etc);

• But in faith, I remember that:

I am under no condemnation (Romans 8:1)

I am a new creation in Christ (2Corinthians 5:17)

I am free in Christ (Romans 8:2; Galatians 5:1)

I am a beloved child of God (Romans 8:14-16; 1John 3:1)

I am completely secure in Christ’s love (Romans 8:35-39).


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing picture! I just learned that my granddaughter sees almost like that picture - except that the outer words are swirling. She has scotopic sensitivity syndrome and I am stunned that there is resistance to diagnosing this in kids. For the first time in her life, she is now using color overlays and is seeing a page of letters sit still - can you imagine? Please pray for guidance about whether I should take this on as a challenge within the school system here in Oakland. 10-12% of general population suffer from this, 40% of kids in juvenile hall, 60% of people in prison and 70% of kids in special ed. Something needs to be done to resolve this and I am wondering if it is a project to take on.