Developing Spiritual Lifestyle Practices - Day One: Beholding
One of the most often asked questions I've been asked over the course of this Coronavirus Crisis is: "What are you doing to stay motivated during all of this?"
I absolutely don't mind the question, but I have come to realize that it's not the real question. The real question that lies beneath the one people seem to be asking, is actually more like this:
"You're a pastor. You must have some kind of insight on how to find peace in all this. What can I do to find peace? What can I do to find some meaning in all of this? How do I keep from going all Jack Nicholson a la The Shining on the people I've been cooped up in the house with for the past month?"
I don't have a lot of pat answers because I'm feeling my way through this just like the rest of you. But I'm working on some things that I am hoping will help me, so I thought I'd share.
In his excellent little book Just This Fr. Richard Rohr identifies twelve lifestyle practices that he believes are essential for developing spiritual vibrance. If you don't have this book, you should get it, and read it every day.
I am going to spend the next twelve Daily Devos exploring each of the twelve lifestyle practices Fr. Richard talks about, beginning with Beholding.
Throughout the Bible we find this odd word that is often used as a command: Behold! In the King James Version of the Bible it occurs 1527 times. It means "look" or "see," but there's a deeper meaning to it, which is why it seems to find its way into so many verses.
Beholding is the art of being able to simply stop, shut out the noise in your life and be completely and fully present in a moment---to be fully aware of or stand in awe, so to speak, of someone or something that captures your complete attention.
Fr. Richard describes it like this:
Beholding happens when you stop trying to "hold" and allow yourself to "be held" by the other.The problem that most of us have is that we don't want to take the time to practice beholding. We are rushed, anxious, worried, filled with the overwhelming expectations we've placed on ourselves to get things done, to be productive.
But now things have slowed down for us. Most of the impediments have been removed. We have more moments to be present within, to practice beholding. Which is ideal because we can't enter into the practice of truly beholding halfway. We need to be all in.
Half-heartedness does not reach
into majesty. You set out
to find God, but then you keep
stopping for long periods
at mean-spirited roadhouses. - Rumi
So your assignment today is to find moments to practice beholding, and not get distracted or caught up in the many roadhouses on your path that are vying for your attention.
Beholding can take many forms.
You could sit outside in quiet and observe the natural world around you, and be fully present to everything that is happening around you--bird song, the sound of chimes, the rustle of leaves...
Or you could be fully present with your child, a spouse or significant other. You could stand in awe of them, allowing yourself to "be held" rather than to "hold," to surrender rather than control.
There are countless ways to behold, and what you will discover as you practice this is that God is in all of those beholding moments, waiting for you, longing for you, and ready to show you more of God than you thought possible.
May this be true for you today and every day, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.