change your life

Silence really is golden.

This week has been a really exhausting week at school.  I keep finding myself frustrated by my students, impatient with their lack of progress, irritated by last-minute schedule changes…it’s been kind of a train wreck.

Josh and I have been reading a wonderful book called The Good and Beautiful Community for  a small group through our church.  Highly recommended, if you’re into life-changing reading.  At the end of each chapter, the author [James Bryan Smith] recommends a “soul-training exercise,” in which you dig into a particular spiritual discipline in a practical way.  Last week’s spiritual discipline was to practice being still, being silent, and just being with God.

So today, after the first three hours of the day finished frustrating the life from my bones, I found myself craving one of those moments, one of those silent eye-of-the-storm moments.

I picked up my book, and began reading where I’d left off.  And what I found first was this:

10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:10-18

Wow.  This particular passage completely changed my day.  After reading it, I lay down on the carpeted floor of my closet/office, and just prayed that Scripture over and over.

There is so much power in that.  Because as I read through it, it began to occur to me that those actions, those callings are exactly what being a “peculiar brand of people” looks like.  The thoughts are all so counterintuitive in our culture.  Patience? Faithfulness? Hospitality? Generosity? Peace? What a strange way to live.

It absolutely changed my day.  And I think that, with a little daily practice, it might just change my life.

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