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Experience God First Handed
I was very blessed to grow up in a home where my entire family went to church every Sunday. I learned a lot about God, faith and spiritualityâ€¦but it wasnâ€™t until just a few years ago that I really started EXPERIENCING God for myself! Iâ€™m certainly not trying to bag on my parents or the church where I grew up or anything like that, but I think some people placed so much emphasis on what I needed to know ABOUT God, that I kind of missed the importance of KNOWING and EXPERIENCING God for myself.
Then a few years ago I read a book called The Sacred Way by a friend of mine â€“ Tony Jonesâ€¦and in the book Tony writes about his personal experience with the ancient spiritual disciplines and how he began practicing them in his own life and what effect they had on his spiritual journey. He also gave a very cool history of where each discipline came from and how people of faith have practiced them down through the years.
I was so intrigued, I decided to give it a try and I began practicing the spiritual discipline of solitude and silence. I knowâ€¦itâ€™s hard to picture a guy like me doing that, but I was amazed at the power solitude and silence had in my life.
Solitude means getting away by yourself and silence is intentionally getting away from the noise of this world and choosing to be quiet and listen to God speak. The first time I tried it, I spent a few hours at a local catholic retreat center. I loved it so much; I decided to go spend a week at a silent monastery in Kentucky the following year.
It was amazing to me what happened in my soul as I intentionally took time to pull away and be quiet before my Creator. I learned that God speaks in a lot of different waysâ€¦and I was excited to finally begin experiencing Him personally! He spoke to me through my Bible reading, through my prayer times and through some journaling exercises I tried while I was alone and quiet. In fact, my time alone with God has meant so much to me, Iâ€™ve tried to make it a regular part of my lifeâ€¦because if I donâ€™t put it into my schedule in advance, it just seems to slip away. So now I try to spend some quiet time with God every single day. I also set aside one day a week to be quiet, turn my phone off and listen to God and the people who are closest to me.
Once a month I spend a day down at a that catholic retreat center in my town and once a year I get away to the monastery. My life-long goal is to go away some day and spend 30 straight days of silence with Godâ€¦Iâ€™m not quite at a place in life where I can make that happen right now, but Iâ€™m looking forward to it! I want to challenge you to give it a try yourself and maybe youâ€™ll start looking forward to it too!
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