Nurturing The Nurturer

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Psalm 23A psalm of David. 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
he leads me beside quiet waters, 
 3 he refreshes my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths 
   for his name’s sake. 
4 Even though I walk 
   through the darkest valley,[a] 
I will fear no evil, 
   for you are with me; 
your rod and your staff, 
   they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me 
   in the presence of my enemies. 
You anoint my head with oil; 
   my cup overflows. 
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me 
   all the days of my life, 
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD 
   forever.

How are you being nurtured these days? Take a moment and really think about it.

I hope you actually did stop for a moment to think about it, and didn't just read ahead! :)

This week I met with a friend and she used the phrase "nurturing the nurturer." It has stayed with me, and I think that is because I usually don't do very well at allowing myself to be nurtured. Our culture grooms us to be productive and efficient, freeing up our time means we are able to do more things. I sometimes see it as false-saviour syndrome - we assume we have to do all these things or else they won't happen and then KABOOM, life is over.

Please understand I was being overly dramatic there.

Two things have happened in the past few weeks that have me thinking about this. The first was an image that came to mind of a tree. It was green, and looked quite healthy. But it was actually slowly dying, no longer bearing any fruit, it was just quietly withering because it wasn't being watered or fed. The second thing was the opportunity to attend a course on spiritual disciplines.

That's probably just a coincidence.

Okay, it's not. It has been striking me lately just how much we take on ourselves, and how little we include God in our day to day activities, decision making, or life... unless we have a crisis moment. When things are going well, we don't seem to think about him too much. In fact, we keep ourselves so full of activities that we don't even have time to spend with the Nurturer - the one who created, formed us, breathed life into us, made us in his image, and has provided everything we need.

The thing is - we need to be nurtured. We need to be filled. We need to be receiving sustenance from the Source.

As deacons, we are nurturers - it's part of our calling, but we need to be filled up before we can be running over. We need to be nurtured before we can nurture. And you'd better believe that if your personal spiritual life is empty, your ministry will be empty. We can't give of what we haven't been given, and when we try, we end up drying up. Some burn-out. Others just wither up. And then there are those, who like trees slowly dying, stop bearing fruit, and slowly lose their leaves, becoming deadwood.

So, how do we live drinking from the Source? We need to stop our mindless, self-inflicted busy-ness, and spend time going deeper with God. And when I say time, I mean real time. Not just the "praying while I drive to work because it's convenient." Or the "I'm listening to a sermon on the bus." Or the "I attended church Sunday." I'm talking about the sort of time you might invest in a relationship you want to keep. The time when you're just focused on the other person, and there is no where else you'd rather be. The type of time that has you clearing your schedule to make sure it happens. This time with God is not another to-do item to check off, it's what keeps us alive.

We don't need more routine, or more attempts at piousness. We need to wait and listen. Spend time in silence. Pray, pray, pray. Sit with Scripture. Allow yourself to be transformed in renewing (reviving) your relationship with the Sustainer. He is always present - the question is, are you? 

How have you made space in your life to be nurtured?  What Spiritual Disciplines are you curious about?  What ones might you want to try?   How has our culture shaped your thinking about time? If God has given us enough time in our days to accomplish his plans, what things in your might be stealing that time?

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