A Moveable Feast

Relearning some crucial lessons in the area of personal intimacy with Jesus.

I have a spirituality that is quite sufficient when I am home. The space from others and stable routine allows for a steady rhythm. But on the road, it is being stretched a bit. This IMG_8315 2raises a question.

Is it possible to have a “moveable feast” – a spirituality that deeply nourishes the soul day in and day out while on the road?

Reality Check
The easy answer is “yes.”

The hard reality is that I am finding it challenging to live into this of late.

I aim to maintain my morning patterns and sabbath day while on the road (see past posts on similar topics here and here). When those travel days begin to stack up though, fatigue begins to creep in and I my best intentions get stymied.

Here is an example. Let’s say that after a couple of weeks of being on the road engaging others, the emotional tank begins to get low. So when it comes to prayer in the morning, I find I am staring off into space pondering I am not sure what. Prayer is an interpersonal engagement after all. After days of tending to others, I begin to struggle in my attention toward God.

Here is the catch though. Jesus is my life, my strength, my bread, my water, my everything. He is all I have to give to another. Sure, his mercy is enough when I am less engaged with him on some days. But, frankly, it bugs me. I don’t want to be less engaged with him when I am on the road, but rather more engaged. I need him.

Trial and Error
Here is where a nice punch line would be given – the answer to the quandary at hand.

I don’t have one though. I wrestling on this topic.

Here are some questions I am pondering?

  • Is my schedule too compressed? Not enough space between events so that I can recover from the previous event and be replenished sufficiently for the next?
  • What about those times when “life happens” and there is no option? Is there something else I can do to allow for more time on the margins of the day?
  • Is this just a liability of my vocation? Or is there another way to walk with God in this vocation?
  • What about those longer multi-week international trips – how does one stay intimately abiding as the days pass?
  • Other…….I am still pondering…..

These questions remind me that what was “sufficient” earlier in my life is no longer sufficient now. God is beckoning me deeper, something has to change for me to respond well. A parent of little ones could, possibly, ask different questions.

The Goal: A Moveable Feast
Not getting tired in the care of others is unrealistic. We all tire. Yet spiritual vibrancy is not IMG_8378 an unrealistic pursuit. I have experienced it in the past over many years in many countries and many demanding scenarios.

I aim for a moveable feast – a transportable rhythm that allows for me to respond to Jesus moving toward me daily.

If this were a simple formula to live out, I guess it would not require fresh engagement with the Lord to discern a new way forward.The Lord invites me to converse with him and see what fresh perspective he will provide. After all, my desire for him is not a self-born desire. It is his desire for me drawing me toward himself.

 

How would he have me respond in the next chapter of life?

As always, I’d love to hear what you are learning on this topic. Thanks for chiming in. 

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10 Responses to A Moveable Feast

  1. Maureen says:

    Gosh Scott, I struggle with this even when I am home and without a specific agenda. Something I’ve learned, which may not be new to you…is to just speak the name of Jesus. Sometimes that brings me back and grounds me and I’m in a better position to listen!

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  2. dave106 says:

    Wrestling with similar topics myself. Pondering the concept of spiritual resilience. If resilience in general, after a major exertion, requires a return to normal before exerting again, is there a hint there for our rhythms of output? Also, wondering about the idea of integration vs differentiation: melding spiritual disciplines into our larger schedule as opposed to arranging them hierarchically on our to-do list. Would love to discuss these in more depth.

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    • Scott S says:

      Thanks Dave – this are some big words! I am all for integration. Another way I have been pondering this is: how am I responding to the invitation to abide with Jesus amidst the full day – not just during morning devo’s time? It is a challenge to not deal with that theoretically but specifically. He is kind to be always drawing us.

      SS

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  3. Linda Kirkeeide says:

    Thought provoking, challenging even in quiet weeks mixed with highly intense ministry weeks… very often connect deeper in the NEED than the quiet. Look forward to more reflections! L

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  4. Lori Morley says:

    I find that when I am on the road, my connection to God seems unfocused and sporadic. I feel a little lost, actually. I open my Bible and I’m not even sure where to read. And then, when I return home, there is a sort of resettling. I sigh when I sit in my usual recliner at my usual time of the morning with my familiar cup of coffee in my hand. I like the return and I haven’t quite got down how to maintain that sort of connectedness to Jesus while I’m on the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scott S says:

      Lori – yes the ebb and flow of life on the road. It is amazing how it can fluctuate. May he continue to teach you this connectedness all along the way.
      SS

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  5. Steven Knudtsen says:

    Scott, I find myself in a similar position to you, traveling to do member care in Asia. One of my favorite verses along these lines of maintaining structure and high ideals is Hosea 10:12. We aspire to high standards and practices, but when its not possible to attain them I sense the Lord saying, as any good dad would say to his kid, “don’t beat yourself over this. I know your heart and that you want to spend time with me”. Sow in righteousness and (you) reap in mercy. I believe God looks at the overall pattern and not each and every day as a test case of our maintaining a particular routine as a demonstration of our love to Him. Regard, Steve Knudtsen

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    • Scott S says:

      Thanks Steve. Yes, grace is essential all along the way. I am grateful that we love at all only because he has first loved us. May the Way be increasingly clear for you.

      SS

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  6. bumissmichele says:

    Man, I was so hoping you were going to have an answer for this! I am in a very similar spot on my journey and wish I had something more to share other than, I get it and it’s nice to know someone else is digging into this.

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    • Scott S says:

      Thanks. As you know, there is no “one size fits all.” This is always a relational dynamic – which makes it dynamic, fluid, and organic. Not to mention messy.

      Thanks for commenting!

      SS

      Like

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