Time Out for Grown Ups

September 12th, 2012
Image © by ex.libris | Flickr | Used under Creative Commons license.

Why do we waste time out on kids? Why can’t I have a time out? I would love to be sent to my room—to sit quietly for 20 minutes.

If you think about it, there’s a spiritual phrase for “time out” it’s centering prayer. Now for some of you, you might say that is a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. As an extrovert—friends laugh, almost hysterically, when I’ve said “I’m going on a silent retreat.” When they stop laughing and realize I’m serious, they often look puzzled.

In our noise obsessed culture, people rarely experience silence. Even as I sit in my cubicle and type these words there is white noise playing overhead. But what if we adults started to say “I’m taking a time out” and then took it. What if we took a time out to settle ourselves down, to center, to listen in silence to what God might be trying to say to us? What if we sat and when a thought came, just offered it up to God in prayer and then let it go, so that we could return to silence and listen for the still small voice?

I am convinced if I took 20 minutes a day to be still and listen—I would begin to hear God’s voice in my life. And I believe that I would begin to change ever so slightly, maybe even become more like Jesus, more Christ-like. And then maybe, just maybe—I could teach the children that “time outs” aren’t so bad after all.

Some people like to read portions of scripture slowly and then practice silence and then repeat this process to help them center. They sit with the passage, not to do some deep theological study, but they sit just to let the word of God speak to them.

I would love to tell you I am an expert at these spiritual disciplines, but I’m not. I believe practice and taking this time is good for my soul and makes God smile.

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