By Arie Reath
There are many ways to seek God’s face: personal prayer time, nature walks, praise and worship music, reading the bible and spiritual books, as well as going to daily Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and praying the Rosary. When I think about these devotional practices, I want to do #AllofIt. The next thing I know, I am trying to incorporate every item on that list into my daily life and what happens?
I burn out. And then I do #NoneOfIt.
Is that bad to say? How can this girl burn out on Jesus?
The truth is, I’m not burning out on Jesus. I’m burning out on trying to do all these good things, and I am missing the point! The point is to not just DO things (even if they are good), but to learn how to BE with Him.
At times, I can feel that it’s not enough if I only focus on one of these actions.
It’s totally enough, especially if I try my best to be fully engaged in my time with Jesus.
Why is it so hard to do less? Why do we think that more is always better?
It is tempting to put activity before intimacy. But I’m here to remind you, and I need the reminder myself, that intimacy with God is the Alpha and the Omega (the beginning and the end) of my “to do” list.
This is what Jesus said to a woman named Martha who was running around, trying to do everything for Him: One thing is needed; she (Mary) has chosen the better portion and it will not be taken from her [paraphrased, Luke 10:42].
So how can we refocus and reconnect to God when we are feeling distant or have burnt ourselves out with activities?
I invite you to choose ONE item from this list and put it into practice.
1. Go for a nature walk. Allow yourself to stop periodically and thoughtfully consider the way the wind gently caresses the leaves on a tree, pick a bouquet of wildflowers, or sit and gaze at a stream or lake. Invite the Lord to be with you as you walk, and be content knowing He is with you, even if He is silent.
2. Dive into a daily devotional such as Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, God Calling by A.J. Russell or Blessed Is She and prayerfully reflect on it. Reread the Scripture verses it references, asking God to draw you closer to Him through His Word.
3. Find a local Adoration chapel and spend some time with Jesus in quiet. Bring a journal or a book or don’t. The point is to do less, so if bringing it feels like work, leave it at home. If you use it to help facilitate prayer with God, then bring it!
4. Attend daily Mass. Arrive early and spend five minutes centering yourself, leaving whatever came before this moment behind you. Take your heart and mind off automatic pilot and allow yourself to be fully present and to enter into the celebration of the Mass.
5. Listen to a good Praise & Worship playlist. Sing along, these words can be your prayer. If you are musical, play an instrument or sing. Find my Praise & Worship Spotify playlist here or create your own.
These are five ways that truthfully always bring me back to the Lord when my focus has been on other things. Less is always more, at least in my life. He is here, in the present moment. He is here, in my heart, when I allow myself to just be.
Remember that all of these activities are put in place to bring us closer to Jesus – it is the relationship that is the most important. Intimacy over activity. How can you be a friend to Jesus today? And how can you let Him be a friend to you?