A Simple Look at a Not-So-Simple Life

Friday Five: Vital Connection

beach 3

For this week’s Friday Five on the RevGalBlogPal website, Sally writes:

OK I’ll admit it, right now I am exhausted, there is so much going on and so much to do that I fell like I am running around in small circles, add to that the fact that there is so much that I’d like to do ….

What I need to do is give myself permission (make myself) to stop and to refocus, to breath the air and smell the roses to get perspective and to rest in God’s presence, and sometimes that can be hard to achieve but I know that the harder it gets, the more essential it becomes. Somewhere deep inside I hear the Spirit whispering to my soul:

Live in me, make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself, but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined to me… (John 15: 4)

So I want to ask you

1. How do you intentionally make a vital daily connection with God? What roots you and gives you life?

I am a nature kind of girl. The cool dark air when I step out on the back porch first thing in the morning to let the dog out, or the sunrise I get to watch each morning after I drop the kids off at school, or the azalea blooms all around the church decorating my walking breaks with Rookie – these are the kinds of things most likely to make me most aware of my connection with the holy.

2.  Do you have a favourite space/ place that you go to?

In light of my first answer, it probably is no surprise that I like to head outdoors. The beach is my all-time favorite place. Nothing tops the sights, sounds, and smells along the coast. The beach is my peaceful listening place. I also like to slip away to the gardens at Mepkin Abbey. A walk in one of the parks along the rivers here, especially Riverfront or Waterfront, or a walk along the Battery works well, too.

3. Is there a particular passage, phrase or prayer that brings you immediately into God’s presence?

Two scripture passages come to mind immediately.

First is the passage in I Kings 19:11-12 where Elijah goes out on the mountain for the presence of God to pass by. First came the wind, then the earthquake, then the fire. But the voice of the Lord was in none of these. Then came the silence, out of which God spoke in a whisper.

Since it is so easy for me to get lost in the flow of the day (and the flow of media), or in whatever the latest crisis might be, or in the most pressing “emergency,” I need to be reminded to be quiet and to be still every now and then.

That leads to the second – my call to quiet – from Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”

4. Music- essential ingredient or distraction- discuss

If I am outdoors, then music is a distraction for me. When I am on the beach, soaking in the sounds of the waves, the seagulls, the wind, the squeals of delight from children and the contented talk of adults, I am mortified to see someone blocking all of that out with earphones. That’s like going to an art museum with a blindfold on! Normally I find it excruciating to try to run without music, but if I am running on the beach, I don’t want or need it.

Inside, however, when I am studying, reading, writing, or thinking, music (especially instrumental music) can be helpful – although I probably wouldn’t rank it as essential most of the time.

5. Silence and solitude or engagement with like minded others?

I am an introvert through and through. While I love worshiping with others, even large numbers of others (think Anderson Auditorium at Montreat), for me to find those moments of connection that sustain me, I need time alone as well. Like everything else in life, I need a balance.


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13 thoughts on “Friday Five: Vital Connection

  1. Love your description of headphones at the beach being like a blindfold in an art gallery, I completely agree! Great post and lovely emphasis on balance.

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one! I have some music-loving friends who look at me like I’m nuts when I say that. Nature provides the best music of all, I think.

  2. Enjoyed reading your post. Interesting intersections for all of our responses. That “be” thing seems to be a common thread.

    • I think many of us are more comfortable being “do-ers” rather that “be-ers,” especially in a loud, multitasking, productivity-focused society. But what does it matter what we do if we aren’t even sure who (or whose) we are?

  3. what a beautiful blog! I love your beach image and beach imagery… thanks for playing; peace

  4. Count me in on the “be” verse as well. What a gift to have a backporch.

    • I love having a back porch, even if it is a bit in tatters. It’s screened-in, sort of. Whoever built it (I’m in a rental house) did a slap-together job and used cheap materials. There are places the screen has fallen. And then there’s the place I took it down in order to save a trapped hummingbird one afternoon. Still, I love it. I am lucky.

  5. Love the “JUST BE” prayer. It is one that I use in breath prayers with patients. And I love the out-of-doors, but sometimes I want to listen to head-banging stuff with my headphones on. I know, I know… strange! 🙂

    • “…but sometimes I want to listen to headbanging stuff with my headphones on…” I love it! Me too, actually, when the mood strikes. Seems that I’ve read somewhere that there is a time and a place for all things under the sun – from quiet nature to headbanging musical joy! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  6. There we go again, copying off each other’s papers. 🙂
    Have I told you that I’m getting ready to meet Sandy Casey- Martus in three weeks? One more connection to you, friend!

  7. I was surprised to see you call yourself an introvert but then I thought about it for a moment and I got it. Myers-Briggs says I am an EFSJ. I am an extroverted introvert. Now that is balance. Have you been to the Angel Oak? We went there often as kids. It wasn’t as controlled as it now. We were able to climb on the tree and sit on it. It is still one of the best outdoor experiences next to the beach. The massive limbs and size of this thing we call a tree speaks volumes to me. I have been known to drive out, just walk around and think or write.

  8. I’m a people-person introvert! Lol! I love being around people, but when it comes to recharging my batteries, I need to be alone. The kids know it is sometimes necessary on Sunday afternoons for me to disappear to my room for awhile, particularly if it was a high-energy, high people interaction Sunday.

    I’ve only been to the Angel Oak once, and there’s no doubt in my mind it is sacred ground! Thanks for the reminder. I need to go back soon.

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