“Many people report that the greatest obstacle to their own spiritual development comes from their busy schedules.”
The first time I heard this, from RenewalWorks, it gave me pause. RenewalWorks is “a ministry of Forward Movement, [which] offers a process to gain insight into the spiritual health and the potential for spiritual growth in congregations.” Through the years, this organization has provided some interesting insights into the health and vitality of faith communities and the individuals who participate in them.
Busyness is THE greatest obstacle to our own spiritual development.
I invite you to pause and reflect on this. Ask yourself if that statement rings true for you.
I don’t have time for that!
I think many of us would say that the busyness of our lives can be challenging on a number of fronts, including to our spiritual development.
Though we often complain about how busy we are, we actually draw a strong sense of purpose and identity from being busy. If we are busy, we must be needed; we must have some importance. Busyness has become powerful in our world. And it has come with a cost to our relationships to one another and to God.
In some respects, the Church has been well aware of this identity of busyness for a long time, and it offers a counter-narrative. Embedded in the cycle of our liturgical year, which begins on December 1st with the first Sunday of Advent, are intentional invitations for us to take a break from our busyness and create space for our souls.
Advent and Lent in particular are times for us to fully embrace those liturgical seasons that encourage pause and reflection. You may be interested to know that RenewalWorks also provides research on what can be helpful for spiritual development. “Research indicates identifiable catalysts that can bring transformation and spiritual growth in the lives of parishioners.” Here are three of them:
- Engagement with scripture
- The transforming power of the eucharist
- A deeper prayer life
On the cusp of the holiday season, (yes I am aware that for some it started before Halloween!) and with Advent right around the corner, in the midst of a strong cultural narrative of “the busier the better,” I encourage all of us to set aside some time for our souls to pause and reflect.