One of the not-often recognized benefits of the spiritual disciplines is that they create space in our lives for God to do what only he can do. We cannot force ourselves to grow spiritually but the disciplines create a “clearing” (more needed than we realize) whereby we am able to pay attention and respond to the activity of God in our lives. Mike Yaconelli wrote about such clearings:
“I am beginning to understand that life is not much a search for answers, as it is a search for clearings. Clearings are the required stopping places in our lives when our lives get to be too much. A clearing is a place of shelter, peace, rest, safety, quiet, and healing. It is a place where you get your bearings, regroup, inspect the damage, fill out the estimate and make the repairs. It is the place where the mid-course corrections are made—where you can change course, even, or start over. A clearing is a place where you can see what you couldn’t see and hear that you couldn’t hear. Clearings are not optional. They are longings in disguise. They are the required rest stops of life when our exhausted souls run out of steam.”
Through the disciplines we make room for God…we give him “elbow room.” The key is not look for God to come in a particular way…but DO look for him! No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute in ways we least expect. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss a thing!