ACW

ACW

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Rest for the Soul by Fiona Lloyd


      Veronica Zundel was reminding us recently of the importance of taking good physical care of ourselves. (Put your back into it?) But what about our spiritual selves? Many churches and Christian organisations seem to exist in a maelstrom of activity. There’s a real risk of equating busyness with maturity, as if we can earn extra divine brownie points by signing up for 76 different rotas.  

      On a personal level, I find the concept of stopping to recharge my spiritual batteries a constant challenge. I blame my dad, whose idea of a relaxing holiday was to climb 17 mountains before breakfast. (Okay, I’m exaggerating…but only a little.) I’m inclined to be a Martha rather than a Mary. My mind flits, moth-like, from one tantalising thought to another.

      Over the last four years I’ve been involved in helping to run a series of quiet days at a retreat centre on the outskirts of Whitby. A group of 15 or so of us come together for prayer and a short teaching session. The main feature of the day, however, is the opportunity to spend time on our own with God. The setting – and the views – are stunning, there’s tea and coffee on tap, and the phone signal is almost non-existent.

      Forcing myself to stop and rest in God’s presence is an effort, but it’s always worth it. I can feel the tension sliding off my shoulders like a discarded cloak. Sometimes I sense God speaking clearly, in a words-of-one-syllable kind of way even I can’t fail to understand. Other times it’s less tangible, but I still leave feeling refreshed and invigorated.

      I also feel inspired. More and more, I’m discovering that when I let down the barriers and give God my full attention, he motivates me to write. It may be something private, just between the two of us, or it might be for a wider audience. What’s clear, though, is that taking good care of my soul benefits my writing.

      Funny, that.



Fiona Lloyd works part-time as a music teacher, and serves on the worship-leading team at her local church. She enjoys writing short stories, and is working on her first novel. Fiona self-published a violin tutor book in 2013, and blogs at www.fjlloyd.wordpress.com. She is married with three children. Fiona is ACW's membership secretary.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for this Fiona. It has been really inspirational ad. Definitely something I need to think about.

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    1. Thanks, Wendy - glad you found it helpful!

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  2. I am so bad at being quiet. Ask anyone I know. I'm not wired that way, but I know it's something I should try more. Even now, trying to work on my novel, I've got the radio on in the background so that I don't feel I'm on my own in the world.

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    1. I don't cope well with background noise when I'm working...but I still find it an effort sometimes to be quiet with God.

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  3. Beautiful post, Fiona. I so agree with you about the value of going on a quiet day. Here in Leamington Spa we have the Well Christian Healing Centre which has a regular programme of quiet days; I can thoroughly recommend them.

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    1. That sounds interesting - I'd like to go on some more structured quiet days (where I'm not involved in leading), so it's good to have a recommendation. Thanks!

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  4. This is a new skill I'm learning since the New Year I have been really intentional about taking a proper sabbath - some weeks it works better than others - when I work at it though it is possible to do a whole day without getting distracted, Retreats are great but they can often be far apart - I can highly recommend learning to take quiet days (or part days) at home.

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    1. I think you're right, Tania - although I do find I get easily distracted when I'm at home. The challenge for me is to allow the experience on the retreat days to spill over into my everyday life.

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