Listen For the Voice that Can Only Be Heard in Stillness
Stop. Breathe. Interrupt the rush. There is deep meaning to be found in our everyday lives, but we won’t find it if we don’t pause to reflect, listening for the Voice that can only be heard in stillness. This is video five in a special series adapted from my new gift book, Reflect with Sheridan. You can watch the whole series here.
An Extra Day
Having more time is most people’s dream. Imagine an extra day every week to do what you don’t have time for: to read books, or play golf, or volunteer with a charity. It would be bliss. But the truth is, if the magic wand was waved and I suddenly had an 8-day week, my extra day wouldn’t be spent doing any of those things. I found this out one leap year when a three hundred and sixty-sixth day dropped into our calendars to bring us into line with the earth’s orbit. Instead of reading, playing or volunteering, I spent that extra day working. What’s to say I wouldn’t treat an additional weekday the same?
A few years ago I found myself with an extra day, so to speak. It was a free day I had between speaking engagements and, with writing projects due and my laptop with me, I had planned to spend it working. Instead, I went to the seaside town of Whitby and turned the day into a mini retreat.
I got to my B&B and sat on the bed. My room was small but had lovely big windows. I looked out at the cottages next door, with their hedges and trees and rustling leaves. I watched the birds, heard them sing. In the distance rang some church bells. Over the next few hours I interspersed this sitting and staring with reading and praying. And something important started to happen.
Things that needed to change in my life began gently floating to mind. The reasons for my recent stress and exhaustion became clear, while they’d been unclear before. I became aware of things I needed to stop doing, to start doing, and things that needed to shift in priority. It felt like God was recalibrating my life.
Experiences like this never happen for me simply while resting or going on holiday. They only happen during times of prayerful retreat. And the upside was my work became more joyful and effective in the following days.
A leap year may add a day to our calendars but it doesn’t add a day to our lives. What it can do is ask us how well we’re using the time we have. And in a workaholic age the healthiest thing may be to spend a few more days in little rooms by the seaside – in restful, prayerful retreat.
Get this and 69 other stories on joy, compassion, wonder, callings and more in Reflect with Sheridan, my new gift book.