At the beginning of the year I review how my last year has gone and think about my ideas for the year coming. In the midst of this I also think about any adjustments on a practical level – you will note I haven’t used the resolution word!
It’s a time to reflect, pray and review.
The diary was completely full for January with the rest of the year populated with various milestone events; I wondered what my approach to my work might be. It was during a time of prayer I sensed God gave me the answer – simply to walk through 2015 with Him.
Walking with God suggests a leisurely pace – you know how it is when you go for a stroll, a meander in a different setting. Often it can be our favourite place, beside water, in a forest, up a mountain, but the key to a good walk is the company. We know when we are in that kind of good company when we don’t have to do or say much, we can simply be. There is a space between those who share the time together that is a productive space without anything being done. Walking with God is simply this, being at one with Him.
If we transpose that onto the reality of working life, families, commitments, how often can we really find ourselves alone with God? Where do we notice Him providing the productive “non productive” space?
What would happen if we did find that time? The wisdom of the desert fathers speaks about spiritual evasion as one element of how we spend time with God. We want to be with God, at one with Him, yet it can be quite daunting so we avoid it – we can all do it. Madness, because for all of us we know just how good it is to spend that time, but in reality it is sometimes God who is too much for us. His love can be overwhelming; it can be a mirror to our souls. Sometimes we actually can’t quite believe that God wants to be with us so much and that he loves us so completely.
Yet without going back regularly to be with our Father, as Jesus was with his, we can begin to run empty. We begin to run on our own resources, and they can get low, or the quality can become thin.
How can we prepare to walk with God this year – what resources do we need? What do we have to change, or maybe adjust, or maybe do more of? These are the questions that we can ask, and maybe we ask them on our first walk with God. As we quietly walk by the lake or in the forest, we ask Him, how would you like us to spend our time together this year?
I am taking all these thoughts with me as I prepare to spend a week on retreat at a Franciscan monastery in February which will include plenty of walks with God. The question is what do I want to ask, or maybe I should wait and simply hear what he says.