Enjoying our retreat at Ffald-y-Brenin in Pemrokeshire National Park in Wales.
It was running at full occupancy, and as Roy Godwin explains in his book, The Grace Outpouring,when there is a rumour that Jesus is to be found there, it draws crowds.
The place has been soaked in prayer and blessing, as Roy Godwin says, and there is something in the air. Our daughters had been given the bigger rooms with the bed and chairs facing the window, whereas we had the smaller room, with the bed and chairs facing away. Not good for someone who loves to read and write in bed facing a window. I wanted to swap rooms. A mini-tantrum ensued.
I tried blessing. “X, I know you are going to surprise us all with how good and kind and loving and understanding you are going to be.”
She pouted, but never mentioned it again, whereas normally, she would have persisted and pressed until she got her own way. Magic in the air, huh? The girls seems to be enjoying a mixture of prayer, Bible reading, and their own secular reading, and study, in Zoe’s case.
There is healing and faith in the air. I prayed for healing for the adrenal fatigue which I had suffered from for several years, since the early years of my marriage really, and perhaps before that. Its main sign was a severely diminished reading speed (from the days in which I could gulp down a book a day, and sit reading for pretty much 12 -14 hours at a stretch, which I used to do until my mid-twenties, very unhealthy).
Somehow, I felt I had been healed of this, and was surprised at how rapidly I was reading again. I am reading a fairly dense but well-written readable book, Diarmaid MacCullough’s history of Christianity, rapidly and with great enjoyment. Of course, being self-conscious about reading speed and techniques is like watching oneself play the piano or touch-type. You will be watching yourself rather than immersing yourself in flow, and that will slow you down!
Normally, when I have the opportunity to pray for extended periods of time, I have an agenda. I seek God’s wisdom for this, blessing for that, direction for this…
This time, I just wanted to hang out, and see what he might have to say to me. God has been very kind to me over the last couple of years in terms of guidance and vision, and this time I wanted to pray
Search me, Oh Lord, and know my heart
Try me and know my anxious thoughts
I asked God to show me what he might see in me which he’d want me to change.
He pointed out a detail. Ouch!
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The one sure thing about God is that He is a giver. He is generous. He loves to give to those who slow down enough to receive—love to gives blessings, guidance, vision, wisdom. What James says is really true—if anyone lacks wisdom, he would turn to God who giveth to all generously.
One area God spoke to me was about reading Scripture, and I am going to return to my old habit of reading 5 chapters a day from today.
Another was about writing down the things I hear him say immediately rather than make a note to blog about them later. I am becoming distinctly middle-aged, and sometimes forget the depth of vision behind these scribbled noted.
Some days, in which I am receptive, I might hear God speak several times, and say several things. Other days, when I am dry, distracted, obsessive, hassled, I might not hear anything. So it would be good to cultivate the blog stack. And writing down things as I hear them, or divine them, or sense them, would mean I would have a blog stack without needing to spend the hour a day I spend on blogging (which means I could spend the extra hour to return to writing books, which is where my heart really is).
There is one area of my life in which I lack wisdom—I simply don’t know what to do!! I spent a couple of hours praying about this issue. If Jesus was here, in the flesh, and I asked him what to do about it., I am sure he would tell me. It’s a good desire, after his will. So, perhaps it just takes faith and receptivity to be able to hear God’s guidance, when Jesus is not here in the flesh.
I think we have a lot more wisdom and guidance at our disposal that we don’t avail ourselves of because we do not slow down. So I did, slowed down, about this long-standing question mark and puzzlement in my life, and felt I heard God speak and tell me what to do. More later…
And so I have had 3 days without any internet, or mobile phones. Loved it. Today however, the intensity got too much, and we drove into town to reacquaint ourselves with social media–twitter, blogs, facebook et. al.
But I learnt something–how MUCH one can read and write when the internet is switched off. I am going to turn it off for periods when we get home.