Resource: An Unhurried Life

I come from a profession where speed is the norm. “An Unhurried Life: Following Jesus’ Rhythms of Work and Rest” is a strong restorative.

Alan Fadling opens this book with the words: “I am a recovering speed addict … and I don’t mean the drug.” This spiritual director’s mission is to inspire people to rest deeper, love fuller and lead better.

Living a frenetic life was a sign of success in my pre-retirement world. Even today the successful retired person is busy, even crazy busy. The pandemic has slowed down the pressure, but it’s still there.

Fadling details the rhythms of Jesus’ life … from the huge meetings with seekers, the miracles, the days of discipling the disciples and the nights of prayer alone. Jesus, who could sleep through a storm at sea, led a balanced life.

He applies that insight into our world’s issues, like productivity, suffering and rest. He also provides insightful questions to pray over at the end of each chapter and a list of spiritual practices that can help us to slow down.

Here is a short video of Fadling talking about what he means by an unhurried life and his book “An Unhurried Leader.”

Amazon has “An Unhurried Life” rated at five stars with 99 reviews. Goodreads has it at 4.11 stars with 602 reviews. It won the 2014 Christianity Today Award of Merit.

Other resources useful for a practice of Christian mindfulness are here.

Welcome Advent!

Advent, the season of waiting, is just the spiritual nudge we need in a pandemic year. We are waiting for the vaccine as we wait for the Christ child.

Many families got a big head start on Christmas this year. Even if your tree has been up for weeks, you can still enjoy Advent. Bringing the spirit of Christian mindfulness into the four weeks preceding Christmas opens us up to allow God to heal our weary hearts.

We begin the season by putting up the Advent wreath and putting out the empty creche. We will fill it week by week. We also begin to read our Advent devotionals. More about those are here.

This year we need silent contemplation just as much as Christmas cheer. Celebrate the quiet season intentionally, and you will find much peace in a pandemic year.

Let’s Build the City of God

Hildegard of Bingen … a woman so far ahead of her time … gives us good advice for today. As we stay in our homes, she urges us to build the City of God.

We can do it in Christian mindfulness. We can do it when we cling to Jesus and his vision of eternal peace on Earth.

Hildegard believed that God is generous toward those who, in good times and bad, faithfully work to build the City of God. These people avoid destructive quarrels, hatred and envy. They work with a calm attitude doing good for others.

Being kind of everyone at home. Being patient with pandemic restrictions. Spending free time in prayer and spiritual reading. All this can help us to build the City of God at home.

Think the World Needs Prayer?

To walk into Thanksgiving with Christian mindfulness, we need to remember two things:

  1. Our purpose on Earth is to glorify God.
  2. God says prayer is important.

Today, on the day before our pandemic Thanksgiving, take some time to go before God with your unanswered prayers. The nation, the world, the sick and the healthy all need our prayers today.

I feel we also need to pray for healing of our image of God. He is loving, never vulgar, never hateful. He wants to spend time with us. He wants us to give him time in gratitude and praise, so He can work on our minds and our ways.

The image of God and the church has been blackened for too many in recent years in the United States. We have linked political expediency to God’s will. God is not shy about telling us that He expects us to love our neighbors, not to view them with suspicion and hatred.

It’s time to see what God says to us about our role in resolving these unanswered prayers. We can only do that through time for prayer and thanksgiving. May peace come to our hearts and to our nation.

Thank Your Pandemic Mates

As Thanksgiving approaches … I just got the pumpkin pie out of the oven!!! … take a few minutes to thank the people you have spent the pandemic with.

Thank those living with you and any one else in your bubble. This year, I’m writing thank you notes in Thanksgiving cards for my husband and my son. We have been a bubble of three for many months.

We haven’t had fights or gotten into arguments. We have bitten our tongues when we get on each other’s nerves. This is mostly because everyone has been nice and witty instead.

Think about the character attributes that have made your pandemic mates nice to be around. Write it up on a place card, a thank you note or a Thanksgiving card. Then share it before Thanksgiving dinner.

If you can, continue to do this loving-kindness meditation as part of an effort to heal our own national pain as well.

woman reading a book

Be Grateful for Answered Prayers

Today, take 30 minutes to give thanks for all the answered prayers of 2020. And yes, there have been some.

When I did this today, I went down my prayer list … looking at the names of the people and the groups that I pray for everyday. There was an answered prayer for every one of them.

So, enjoy some fellowship with the Lord. He is with us this Thanksgiving.

Do Your Advent Prep

The first Sunday of Advent is seven days away. If you are still having issues with order delivery, as I am, be sure to get your supplies, books and ideas ready for the year.

Having a mindful Christian Advent is a time of joy and wonder, sorely needed this year. It’s a quiet time spent intentionally concentrating on the miracle of Jesus’ birth, rather than commercial Christmas. This kind of Advent is sure to chase pandemic fears away so we can feel at peace.

two books for Advent

Some ideas for Advent prep include:

  • Get or make Advent candles. (We are doing beeswax candles from a kit this year. You can find the kit here.)
  • Purchase an Advent calendar or stock up one if you have a reusable model.
  • Get the Advent wreath out of storage … or buy one.
  • Order a new Advent devotional or order new ones. This year I’m using two favorites: “Preparing for Christmas” by Richard Rohr and “Living in Joyful Hope” by Suzanne M. Lewis.
  • Get out your Christmas music.
  • Organize children’s Christmas books.
  • Pick the name of a saint or devout Christian. You can study their life during the season.

Make a Gratitude Pumpkin

This idea, originated by Tsh Oxenrider, brings specific gratitude to my Thanksgiving table every year.

Take the gratitude list that you developed this week. Then write it on a pumpkin that becomes part of your Thanksgiving table centerpiece.

When it’s time to go around the table expressing thanks, you’ll have something quite specific to mention. It’s a way to bring Christian mindfulness to the celebration.

thankful grateful blessed in script

Try This: List Your Blessings

The pandemic is hovering over all of us. We’ve had friends lose their parents to COVID. We won’t get to spend Thanksgiving with our granddaughter and her parents. We won’t get to see my husband’s mother who is in dementia care.

Nonetheless, the Lord has been so good to us. Today, let’s look with intention at what’s right and how God has blessed us. Listing our blessings helps us to stay focused on what is good in our lives.

For example, I am thankful to the Lord for:

  • Our continued health.
  • Our marriage that has remained solid despite quarantining together soon after we retired from jobs that involved a lot of travel and time apart.
  • Food, water and a warm house.
  • My granddaughter and the miracles of technology that allow us to have dessert together on Thanksgiving day.
  • My wonderful kids.
  • A ministry that has continued via Zoom through the pandemic.
  • My spiritual director and pastors.

And there’s lots more on my list. Please make one yourself and spend time thanking God for what you have. You will feel much better.

It might be fun to keep it, so you can compare it to next year’s list. Here’s hoping next year’s list has a lot of travel on it!