Happy Soul Tending Tuesday, friend.
I knew what was coming when a Chinese student would say, “Do you mind if I ask a question?”
It was one of three questions:
1. Why have you stayed in China?
2. Can you use chopsticks (or ride a bike?)
3. How can I improve my oral English?
With question three, often the question behind the question was “Please tell me the magic bullet so that I can speak like a native speaker right now.”
They knew the answer before they asked it, but hoped they were wrong. No surprise, my answer was some version of, “The only way to get better at speaking is to speak.”
Of course I would suggest practicing with roommates, listening to native English speakers, looking for opportunities to use their English, but in the end, like any skills, the only way to improve is to practice.
To practice poorly. To practice with starts and stops. To get frustrated. To have victories. But to keep showing up, to keep opening their mouths, to keep trying to put thoughts to words.
You can see where I’m going, I’m sure.
We have talked about stillness and silence before. But we will need to circle back to them again and again. My hopeful students wanted to magically be good at English and you might magically want to hear from God without spending time letting him talk to you and feed you.
Sure, you want to hear from God. But the water bill needs to be paid, the friend needs to be visited in the hospital, the language won’t get into your head by itself. You can’t live out of what you don’t experience.
So today we have another 10-minute video of a river with beautiful fall foliage along the banks. As I write this, the view outside my window is nothing like the video, with the snow growing higher by the minute. But when you see the video, you’ll escape for a classic autumn encounter with God.
When I say, “
That’s okay. When that happens, breathe in and ask God what he has for you in these ten minutes.
Stillness, silence, and solitude will feel a bit ridiculous at first. And unnatural and eternal. But the only way to have them feel even half-a-step less ridiculous is to practice. To sit, and be still, and listen to God.
If you don’t see the video, click here.
If it feels harder than it “should,” that too is to be expected. Guess what? That is why we have Soul Tending Tuesdays. To create space for you to tend your souls in ways that allow God to speak and you to listen.
Leave a comment about your experience and you’ll be entered to win a copy of this month’s workshop: Avoid Priority Pitfalls on the Field.
See you in the comments!