Tom and I have been away for the last week on Mayne Island BC. This is an annual trip for us – part vacation and part retreat time, an opportunity to refresh ourselves and renew our sense of purpose. It is also a time to listen intently to God, to evaluate where we feel we are on track and where we feel we have gone astray.
These last few months have been extremely busy and I feel that I have allowed myself to be distracted by the busyness of the urgent without taking the time I need each week to reset my priorities and refocus my life. It has been good to remind myself that there is ample time for all God intends me to do, without rushing or getting pressured. But I am still learning to hear God’s voice saying to me – This is for today, say no to everything else.
My focus for the week has been three questions which came out of my reading of Pope Francis’s book Walking with Jesus:
First:What am I doing to draw closer to God each day? This has been a good time of reflecting on my own spiritual observances and the disciplines I need to keep me intentionally on the journey toward greater intimacy with God. Maintaining Sunday as a day of rest is probably the one I struggle with the most and I need God’s gently reminders at times like this to set me straight.
My second question is: What am I doing to draw closer to neighbors? – and by neighbors I mean all those who are around me, starting with my husband Tom, the small community at the Mustard Seed House, those I work with, those I mentor and those I interact with through this blog, social media, speaking, and mission as well as those who are literally my neighbors near and far on this planet Earth – those I live around, meet in the grocery store and interact with through the news. Our opportunity for neighborly interactions is huge these days, which in itself can be overwhelming.
My third question How do I encourage others to become all that God intends them to be? is in many ways the hardest. It encompasses both of the above – being a good example and mentor to others, supporting endeavors that enable people to earn a just wage, improve their health, housing and economic wellbeing all come into this. But there is more. It is easy for all of us, intentionally or unintentionally, to focus on our own ambitions and promotion to the detriment of those around us. So what I have had to grapple with is: What do I do each day to get beyond myself and protecting my own interests to secure my neighbor’s interests first? (Philippians 2:4) It is a question worth asking ourselves on a regular basis.
So my challenge for you today – what are you doing to draw closer to God and neighbour, and what are you doing to enable others to become all that God intends them to be?