How Lectio Divina Can Reshape our Habits

Technology and the way we are consuming information is resculpting our brains. It’s slicing and dicing our attention span.

.

In an article by writer Philip Yancey in the Washington Post called The Death of Reading is Threatening the Soul, this prolific author was confessing an internal pull to skim, to jump from article to article, and to read short little ditties instead of immerse himself between the covers of longer books.

.

I’m recognizing this same shift. I have the bizarre tendency to go from amazing quote to amazing quote on instagram and skim like I’m trying to make a satisfying meal out of a light buffet of petit fours. I have a sugar rush and the slight dizziness to prove it.

.

This is where the slow feast of lectio divina comes in as a gift for reversing this trend. It can be an awkward practice at first, sitting with a scripture not packaged in a tweet. We’re used to immediate emotional connectivity, someone curating a quote that has the potential to go viral. We’re accustomed to the jolt, the effortless “aha” moment. If we’re not careful, we will be building our summer home in the shallows.

.

In lectio divina we learn to pause, to linger, to listen. We learn to invite the guest home. Then, the guest turns host breaks open the bread and we grow silent in wonder as we realize how much we’ve missed Him.

Action step: watch this Lectio Divina video for Philippians 4:11-13. Allow yourself to experience the awkwardness of silence. Stay present.

(These days I’m writing over on Instagram and Facebook a 31 Day Detox for the Tech-Weary Soul. Join me there? Subscribe to get the entire thing nicely packaged and tied with a bow, figuratively of course.)

Join me in sitting down for a meal? 

Continue Reading

31 Day Detox for the Tech-Weary Soul –Day 4: Carry the Light

 

(Links to Days 1-3 of our 31 Day Detox for the Tech-Weary Soul are located at the bottom of this post.)

 

I grasped the three foot Easter Vigil candle and pulled it from its stand at the fire pit. It was Saturday night and about forty of us stood in a circle by the rustic outdoor chapel. For twenty-four hours the lights had been dimmed in the Cathedral. Good Friday we had all left the cavernous darkness of the nave in silence. Tonight was Easter Vigil. The alleluias had returned. The light was rekindled.

 

I held up the candle and led the way to the cathedral stumbling over a newly laid mulch path and carried the light back into the sanctuary.  I dipped the flame under low branches. Parishioners sang behind me struggling to keep tempo as they stretched out along the path. 

 

I resettled the massive white pillar candle into its brass stand in the cathedral nave. As the flame flickered, light glinted over the silver and brass around the altar. Settling back into pews we listened to the overarching stories which had led directly to the open tomb:

 

*The kindling of light in creation and then the Fall

*Isaac’s near sacrifice and the provision of the ram 

*The Red Sea, the near defeat and the miraculous pathway

 

The children got antsy. Xavier fell asleep on his daddy’s lap but I this is one of my favorite services of the church year and I knew the journey would be worth the wait. We touched down in one story of God’s provision after another. Each story built to a crescendo with the resurrection.

 

 

It was while listening to Genesis 2 that I heard one of the verses emphasized.  God had come ready for a slow amble through the garden in the cool of the evening. I expect that it was their pattern. Work during the day: name and garden and build. And then another type of naming at night, simple gratitude: “Look, Adam, feel the leathery skin on this  pomegranate.” Then, watch this hummingbird. Taste this seed. Smell the rosemary after you rub it between your fingers. I imagine they shared that day’s “best of” list as they walked. I imagine that walking shoulder to shoulder amplified their delight.

 

 

But it was his mournful tone over Adam’s hiding that surprised me: “Adam, where are you?” I marked the weightiness of the words. I heard them again, this time personalized: “Summer, where are you?” It was not shame, though I recognized genuine disappointment. It was a reflection of God’s longing.

 

I wondered how often God comes in search for me. I wondered how often I am hiding deep in distraction. I wondered how often I miss the call for a slow amble down the path.

 

 

Here are today’s 31 Day detox questions for us:

When does the distraction of my phone create a wall of separation from God?

When is it a pathway toward Him?

What would it be like to bring the light of Christ’s Presence with us as we walk into our daily technology amble? What would it be like to invite God into social media with us?

 

*Hi friends, we’re exploring how quiet the inner bully of our phones and make it an ally.*

Catch up through these links here:

Day 1: Protect Your Time, Get an Alarm Clock.

Day 2: Prepare to Grow, Find your People.

Day 3: Give Thanks, Explore the gifts.

Follow along with the 31 Days for the Tech-Weary Soul on instagram or subscribe on the right to receive a week’s worth once a week in a newsletter along with a lectio divina video ministry.

Continue Reading

Philippians 3:7-14 Lectio Divina and 31 Days to Making Your Phone an Ally

{*Hi Friend!* If this is your first time here, every Tuesday a SLOW Word lectio divina comes out right here. We’re slowing down the Word so we can encounter the God of the Word in a fresh way. Want more? Subscribe on the right to receive this fresh manna into your inbox every Tuesday…along with other practical tips, videos, and letters from me about staying in the word. Another gift?  If your church follows the lectionary, you’ll be encountering next Sunday’s word and preparing your heart a few days early. Sounds lovely, right?}

Do you have this same tic? Do you subconsciously reach for your phone when you should be tuned into work? Do you have family members who give you that long stare and beg you to turn it off? Or perhaps you’re just searching for a more intentional way to live with technology?

It’s time to journey together. I’m struggling too. The truth is that our phones are slowly encroaching on our prayer time, taking over our empty minutes, and redefining rest. It’s time to get a bit bossy with them. Choose boundaries. Develop intentional practices and generally pay attention to how we’re functioning with technology.

 

I’m over at Instagram this month writing out my own wrestle with technology here www.instagram.com/revsummerjoy :

31 Days to Make your Phone an Ally, not a Bully.

Here was the takeaway from Day 1:

Get an alarm clock. This small change has been a big step to taking back my mornings. No more setting an alarm on the phone. No more losing my prayer time to scrolling groggily. It’s the best $30 I’ve ever spent to protect my mornings from the tyranny of the urgent.

 

On Day 2 I get a little bit brain science nerdy. You can read it here: Day 2, Prepare to Grow

 

Wanna join? Follow me on Instagram and lets build a community. Share with your people. We’re all struggling together. Lets walk out the solutions together.

 

What are you noticing about how your phone is encroaching on your attention and your time?

(feature photo by Death to Stock Images. Love that name.)

Continue Reading

Loving Cruciform

Dear friends, every Tuesday we gather for a slow meal of manna, a lectio divina, straight from this next Sunday’s lectionary. Join the Slow Word Movement and subscribe to get a free how-to video to deepen your time in the Word.

 

Ever have that feeling as you stand at the end of the high dive that you just want to watch someone else go first? He jumps, you watch the landing, and then your body remembers. You can follow.  You pull your legs in tight and the water engulfs you. No harm. No foul.

In Philippians 2, we watch the way love shapes Jesus’ body cruciform so that we too can learn to stretch out our arms to serve in true humility. Only, here’s the catch. This stretch into service doesn’t make sense unless it’s fueled by a mighty love. I’ve seen people try to shape their body into humble service and it looks ghostly, a wisp of self. It looks like victimhood.

Whereas humble Love is always voluntary.

I’m reading two books right now that go beautifully with this text.

Hidden by Sara Hagerty a beautiful book which has challenged me on every level.

Free of Me: Why Life is Better When It’s not About You by Sharon Hodde Miller which comes out next week. Woo hoo! Sharon’s chapters on when we make our calling about us and image management have been especially profound for me. Pre-buy and receive lots of goodies at Sharon’s site: Sheworships.com

Interested in a short book that will rock your world? Tim Keller’s book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness is a must read.  Check it out here. It’s always $2 on kindle.

I honestly believe that this concept of embracing others through humble love is the hardest for modern Americans to grasp. We have so much baggage along the lines of army recruiting messages like Be All that You Can Be and journals spouting, “Dream on.” But the way of love is not always victorious, it’s cruciform and it’s only Jesus who can show us how.

Blessings dear ones as you listen,
Summer Joy

Continue Reading

He Upholds Us When We Fall

Listen. Savor. Respond to God.

“The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all those who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14

 

We were in a long season of exhaustion and I had lost hope we would ever make it out. Andrew and I were struggling to make it through each day. We had had three children within four years and a church plant. At bedtime I would make out a schedule of fifteen minute increments: playdoh – 15 minutes, sand play 15 minutes, snack time 15 minutes, just in order to wake up feeling armed. Every day I would crumple it up knowing it was meaningless. We were leaning too heavily on each other because there was nowhere else to lean. Until we couldn’t anymore. We were depleted. There was nothing extra. Love felt thin as one of Aunt Margie’s hand-me-down sheets, see-through, brittle.

 

And so I would lay down. On the bed. On the floor. It didn’t matter.

 

When tempers were strong and love was thin I would lay down. Knowing God was holding both of us up. He was the ground of our marriage.

 

“For in Him we live and move and have our being” from Acts 17 merged with Paul Tillichs’ “God is the ground of our being” and I would lay down feeling the ground hold us up. Because I couldn’t anymore. But I could lay down intentionally knowing God was “upholding those of us who were falling.”

 

And a strange comfort would come. Grace catches us when we fall backwards.

 

I didn’t have any answers and yet I could depend on He who was the Answer. I didn’t have the energy to stand and yet I could fall…into God’s strong arms. Because the ground always held and God always held even when I didn’t have the strength to carry us.

 

Where do you need to be held up today? Where do you feel as though you are falling?

 

 

Continue Reading

Renewing our View of God

 

It’s easy for us to view God through the grimy lens of our own imperfect parents. Honestly, it makes sense. It’s the only lens of love we’ve got. But the problem is that we have a horrible tendency to anthropomorphize God. We put human features and characteristics onto a perfect, holy, and all-loving God. We think he’s as fickle and capricious as those we witness walking around this solid earth.

 

We fear His love morphs with our attempts at holiness. We imagine He showers us with compassion on the good days and withdraws his love, hiding in the shadows, leaving us in the cold, when He’s not pleased.

 

This. Is. Not. God. This is not unconditional love.  Psalm 103 is a good place to sink into in order to let God share his self-revelation.

 

Listen. Savor. Pray. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. Ask Him to tell you how He sees you!

 

Thirsty? Want more?

 

“The gardeners at the Center where I bought my white hydrangeas said to chop off the big snowball blooms for two full years. The roots’ establishing was more critical than beauty, she lectured, tenderly patting the black plastic base. Let them spread all their energy to the tightening, spreading roots and then, she promised, they’ll bloom strong into the years.” Read more here.

 

Want a daily practice to resting in God’s love? It’s a simple practice called the 3 R’s that can be done anywhere.

Read more here.

Continue Reading

Invitation to the With-God Life

Listen. Savor. Pray.

 

Are you feeling thirsty for more of the with-God abiding life? Here’s my story and why practicing God’s Presence has become one of the chief desires of my life: http://www.athirstforgod.com/tag/practicing-the-presence-of-god/

AND, by the way, did you know every Tuesday we have a lectio divina from the lectionary for the following Sunday? Come back on Thursdays (today) and pray through scripture using a lectio divina series I’m calling The WITH-GOD LIFE. We’ll be soaking in John 15 for a few weeks and then head out to the Psalms. I promise it will be strength for the journey.

Join the Slow Word Movement and subscribe to become a part of the community! I’ll be making a video on Five Simple Ways to Deepen your Scripture Meditation and sharing it right there next week. We also have a lovely Facebook Community for subscribers that’s continually growing.

Continue Reading

More Instructions on Prayer

Lectio divina is an ancient practice dating back to the 500’s which is a companion to Bible study. It’s a doorway to prayer, a landscaped path to relationship. Every Tuesday we listen to a gospel reading looking for bread, but not just any bread, The Bread. We’re hungry to connect not just to a new aha moment, an momentary intellectual high, but to Jesus Himself.

 

Lectio divina is a slow walk home to the Beloved where we lean in close to listen to His heart. I wonder what you will hear today? (If you desire more companionship on the journey, a free Intro to Lectio Divina video, and a private facebook group, join the Slow Word Movement by subscribing on the right.)

Continue Reading

Keys to Overcoming Fear of Rejection

 

 

Every Tuesday we have a lectio divina taken straight from next week Sunday’s lectionary. It’s a sort of appetizer. If there’s a second lectio in the week, I get to choose! It’s sometimes a scripture that I know will minister to struggle. Sometimes I pick it for me. Isaiah 51:12-16 was for me. It represents an area in my life that still needs more healing: fear of rejection. Yup, it’s like an onion, there are often more layers which are uncovered at different times. Verse 14 is my prayer when I’m crying out for transformation: The cowering prisoners will soon be set free. They will not die in their dungeon. Nor will they lack bread!

 

You can read more about my wrestle by clicking here.

 

Maybe you can relate. I wonder how the Lord will speak to you through these verses.

 

Continue Reading

Four Simple Ways to Deepen your Lectio Divina Practice

Did you know that Tuesday’s lectio divina video always corresponds to the next Sunday’s scripture if you’re in a lectionary-based church?  Want to get it slipped into your inbox? Would you like to join our private Facebook group to share with other listeners? Subscribe on the right.

 

 

Four ways to deepen your lectio divina practice:

 

  1. Get friendly with the pause button.

    Don’t rush what the Spirit may be doing. Stay present. Listen. Gather up all the manna.

  2. Stash a 3 by 5 card.

    Don’t let the seeds slip through your fingers. Write down the phrase the Spirit seems to be highlighting.  Write down the invitation. Put the card in your pocket and take it out throughout the day. Walk that truth out into your day. Look at it like a prism in your hand, turning it around and looking at it from different angles, in different lights.

  3. Write in your journal.

    When the lectio is over, continue the conversation. At its simplest, Lectio divina is using the scriptures as a doorway to prayer.

  4. Get present with Jesus through the Scripture.

    If Jesus is asking a question, take it to heart. How does that question reverberate in your own soul?

 

Now let’s try it out. Here’s Jesus’ question to us today:  

 

Let’s go deeper. What would it look like if you gained success but lost Jesus?

 

Let’s put skin and bones on that question. Think about it. Imagine your craziest, worthy-of-a-book dream coming true.

 

Go ahead. Walk around in the heady success for a bit. Who’s there? What are the trappings, the curtains, the toys, the numbers? Touch the grandness of the dream. Smell it.

 

And now here’s the most important question: Where is Jesus in the midst of this dream? Where are you? Who is at the center? Who is on the outskirts? Whose dream is it?

 

Along those same lines, what does this scenario truly cost your soul? What did it cost your soul to get there?

 

Next question: where is your true self in the scenario? No really. Where is that smallish but beloved and barefoot child of God? Is He or She plastered over with a thick mask? Does she get lost in the dream? What does her voice sound like? Is it authentic? Who is putting on her make-up, caking on a false self? Who is his tailor?

 

So, now you know that this is where I’m parking myself for the next few days. And now your turn, what word/phrase connected with you?

 

Continue Reading
1 2 3 33