meditative prayer and yoga

New guided meditations available here or on iTunes, search one + one yoga.

I've released an Advent Study with Meditation Podcasts (available on iTunes). You can find the information and downloads here.

 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;against such things there is no law". - Galatians 5:22-23

I would like to say it is all of Oswald Chambers fault. But, we know it is wrong to blame someone else-so I will just say it has been timing. Several years ago, I decided I would read through His "My Utmost for His Highest". I am now in my third year of this daily habit. One of the many things I love about Oswald Chambers (I like to call him OC.) is that His relationship with God is number one, and so what he says often seems a bit backwards. Words that you really have to meditate on, a lot like reading through the Psalms. 

Example: put God first, not what you do for Him - your duties in church, preaching the gospel and sharing Christ - but your relationship and getting to know Him - first-above everything else. Now that is in my words, so not as eloquent as OC would have put it, but that is the idea - over and over - on different days, in different scenarios and with different scriptures.
Hence, my need to be reading it all again for the third year in a row. What does this have to do with yoga? Well, I like to run. I am not fast, nor graceful. Some years I have run really far, some years not so far, but enough to push my mind and body - and clear out the thoughts that so easily become distractions. A couple of years ago, when I was running long distances, I started to listen to the "Living on the Edge" Chip Ingram podcasts. He had a short series called "Silence, Solitude and Sabbath". After listening to it, I remember thinking "this is why people love yoga-and we (Believers in Christ) are totally missing out! 

By nature, we want to accomplish. And even though many of us have heard, and quoted, "the difference in Christianity is that it isn't about what you do, but what Christ has done…" we never slow down enough, and focus our thoughts for the truth to really grip us, and change us. So when a yogi says they love and believe in yoga and how it has changed their lives. I believe them, because what they are doing, even though I believe they are missing the best part, is trying to separate themselves from the things of this world, to find what is better. Once again, what scripture do we often hear (if you move in christian circles), but not as often seen lived out? "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, throwing off anything that hinders…" Romans 12:1-2 (paraphrased)

So fast forward to a year ago. I started searching - and I found the book "Christian Yoga" by Father D├ęchanet. I had started and stopped yoga many times because I could see there were physical and emotional benefits to it, but I couldn't reconcile the whole idea that yoga is used to help spread the Hindu faith. I wanted to find something else out there, written with both wisdom and validity - and I found it. Reading OC and Father D├ęchanet is slow and thought changing for me. And I have began to see the movements of yoga, the slowing down to just my breath patterns, and His [God's] Word, as a critical part of each day. It is requiring patience in a new way, and it is pushing me to really learn to wait on Him to renew my mind.  Learning to rest and be quiet, instead of my typical practice of surging ahead through my daily scripture quota and necessary prayers for my check off list. 

Which brings me to my photo choice. It is kind of like the photo from Abby Try Again of the snow cone - the fruit of the spirit is beautiful - and looks a lot different then the ingredients by themselves - but it takes effort to get it just right - and I can't get it just right on my own. Someone else came up with the recipe and the ingredients. No matter how much I think I can make beautiful on my own, I really do need the Creator of the universe to bend me and shape me into who He wants - and that is a process that requires more then I can give on my own. It requires Him. I have not figured it all out yet, but I am continuing to learn as I give God moments of total silence. 

*Click on photo to go to Abby's old site. I purchased quite a few prints from her before she closed up shop.

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