Contemplation ~ a few definitions from various dictionary sources:
1. The act of looking thoughtfully at something for a long time.
2. Deep reflective thought.
3. Concentrating on spiritual things as a form of private devotion.
4. A state of mental awareness of God's being.
I've been in a dry spell lately. A time when it's been difficult to hear God's voice. When I face times like this I find it helpful to try different spiritual disciplines; different from the ones I generally fall back on. I think sometimes it helps to mix things up in order to hear from God in different ways. After all, all relationships go through times when we realize we've fallen into a rut of doing the same thing; times when comfort zones need to be stretched; times when we need to try new ways of connecting. I believe our relationship with God is no different.
"God asks us regularly to change, to grow, to step into something unexpected." Jeanette Baake
And so, I find that over the past few months I've been exploring spiritual disciplines that are more in line with contemplation ~ solitude, lectio divina, reading from the ancient authors of the faith...I don't abandon the practices that have been formative over the years ~ Bible study, journaling, prayer, and in recent years art journaling. But I have found it beneficial in dry seasons to try other practices along with my "daily" ones. And slowly the dry season experiences times of rain, times of nourishment, and I begin to hear God's voice again ~ though He has not been silent, rather I have not been listening in right ways. Is this perhaps what dry seasons really are? Times when we listen more to our own voice or to others' voices and drown out the voice of God and so it only seems that He is silent? That's worth pondering ...
Dry seasons, exploring spiritual disciplines, figuring out the hard stuff, discovering the things that make you who you are, and discovering more and more about who God is and how He relates to us, these are all a part of our journey. Our life journey, our spiritual growth journey, our growing into our true self journey. We must learn to embrace the journey.
I continue to art journal through our study of 1 John:
I have some more thoughts and art about my exploration in contemplation and will post again in the next few days. :)
In what ways (practices/spiritual disciplines) do you find yourself connecting to God?