Recently I had the chance to go away for a week to do some training on self-care specifically for pastors.
Apparently we aren’t great at it.
One of the things that I learned, or re-learned, or maybe heard for the 100th time (or may even have taught 100 times!), is to find ways to connect with God that you LOVE. I tend to take on lots of SHOULDS in my life and skip the I GET TO’s and I miss so much of what God has for me.
I get to choose any number of exciting ways to connect with God on a given day. My camera, a conversation, prayer, scripture, a book, a walk, nature, flowers, journaling—all have helped me connect with God and strengthen my faith, and given me a better sense of my purpose.
I, however, tend to think I SHOULD read my Bible more each day.
I SHOULD pray a certain way each day.
I SHOULD journal a certain way each day.
I was reminded, yet again, to not “should” myself. I was reminded, yet again, that there are many different ways to do the same thing. There are a million different ways to capture the joy that God has for me. I just need to find my way for that day and not judge myself on someone else’s way on a different day.
One idea that was suggested was to take a photo a day representing a way that I connected with God that day.
I am a couple of weeks into it and have been doing pretty well. Some photos are of nature. Some are of my kids. Some are screen shots of something I saw online. So far it has been a powerful prayer practice. I am dropping the photos into an app that will make me a video slideshow of them at the end of the year.
This weekend when I walked by the buttercup field with several horses it took my breath away. I tried to get the horses to look at me for the photo I had in my head, but no go. They were focused on what they loved. I realized that was what I was doing in a way…focusing on what I love…beautiful things, as well as the one who created them. Just as there is not just one photo subject (horse), there are different ways to connect with God. As great at the horses were, I do love my puppy in the buttercups.
And I loved the bluebird. Three good ways to enjoy God in the midst of a walk. There is not just one way to experience God. I am praying that you find a way that you can enjoy God. To be “in joy” with God!
Another view of the buttercups. How I wish I had my camera and not just my phone for this bluebird picture!
(and no, the Build Me Up Buttercup lyrics don’t work with this post, but the song is firmly stuck in my head!)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
(Romans 15:13, NRSV)
Rev. Shannon Jordan is the pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Decatur, AL To receive notifications when there is a new post click on the menu at the top right, scroll down and enter your email where indicated.