Not having grown up in a tradition with a liturgy or lectionary or a set schedule for morning and evening prayers, I’ve been on the look-out for my own spiritual practice. I had a long list of things I thought I “should” be doing: prayer, Bible reading, meditation, journaling, paying attention to my dreams, drawing my dreams or prayers, etc. The list was so long that many mornings I would feel defeated and condemned before I even said “Good Morning, God”. If I did everything on my list, I would need four hours so often I practiced nothing but guilt and defeat.
Often in recent years I would hear about a certain format for morning prayer or study or meditation and decide I had found my spiritual practice. “I’ll do that daily for the rest of my life,” I’d say to myself and begin.
Three months later I would find myself doing something else. I’d be doing something but not what I had set for myself. More guilt and defeat would ensue. I have even said that I felt like I had Attention Deficit Disorder of the Spiritual Life. People who heard me say this would laugh and I would laugh but behind the laughter was a sad truth.
Recently I said all of this to my spiritual director. She listened intently and then she said something that has transformed my spiritual life. “Cherry, it isn’t about what you do; it’s about being faithful.”
Since hearing that, I have made a concentrated effort to spend the first thirty minutes of every day focusing on God and God’s presence and love. I have given myself permission to do different things. Some mornings I pray first; sometimes I read Scripture first; sometimes I journal first but whatever I do, I make a concerted effort to be aware of God’s presence for at least thirty minutes.
Interestingly a personal spiritual practice has begun to emerge. More about that later.
Cherry Winkle Moore is a visual artist and a retired hospice chaplain. Cherry has a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting, drawing and printmaking from the University of Alabama. Later she completed a Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in pastoral care. Cherry sometimes says that in her case the MFA stands for Minister of Fine Arts and the MDiv stands for Making Divine Images Visible.View All Post