I have had many questions about feeling spiritually "shelved" over the past few years. While things have been better/more fulfilling in recent months I still haven't been able to completely lose the sensation of being on the outside looking in at church and ministry functions and in some social settings, even when I know that is not the case.
Perhaps I received part of the answer to what God has been up to after reading a short prayer I found Sunday morning laying abandoned, looking forlorn on my hosts' large dining room table. It was typed on a small piece of white paper that looked like it had been cut out of a book. I read it over several times; basically a list of things the writer of the prayer was asking to be satisfied with in life. Out of that short list the only thing I can remember is a request to be satisfied with "emptiness".
As I read that word I felt like I had been slapped across the face. Emptiness....of course! That is the one thing in my life I have NEVER before learned how to deal with. Always I have been surrounded by friends and family and career and ministry opportunities, until a few years ago when it all disappeared like a vapour: there one minute and gone the next.
My Christian life has been one long roller coaster of learning how to deal with the ups and downs of finances, relationships, hurts, disappointments, offences, joys, health issues, marriage, my husband's health, aging parents, child rearing, constant moves, careers, gains and losses in all areas of life....but never true emptiness. Not until the past few years has life seemed so constantly devoid of true connections to people and circumstances around me. Always I have had a lot on the go...until God seemed to remove most everything I was accustomed to from my grasp.
I have been thinking about this all day through all the housekeeping and other errands. Could it be possible that after so many years of busyness and activity it is time to release all that and examine the possibility of a more contemplative spirituality??
Instead of dreading the idea like I have in times past, I feel excited. Meditative spiritual exercise is very new to me, but since I read that short prayer and "emptiness" jumped out at me, it has started something whirring about in my brain and enlivened my spirit.
Perhaps.....maybe.....God has been preparing me for just such a change in spiritual direction.