One of my principal music mentors once remarked that it was more “natural” for him to hike than it was to do music. I found that intriguing, and I’ve remembered it for years. I have at times paused to wonder whether this or that feels more or less “natural” than the last thing I did.
What comes naturally, though, may or may not be what’s important to engage in.
In another less-than-bright period of life about 20 years ago, a then-friend listened for a while and asked me if I were spending much time “in the Word.”
The Christianese expression “in the Word,” of course, means “reading your Bible.” For the present, we’ll leave alone the questions that begs about how one reads—simple-mindedly, hopscotch-like, distractedly, using a bad version, etc. The fact is that, then, I was expending oodles more energy worshipping and praying than I was studying or reading scripture. It was sometimes as natural as breathing for me, back then, to think and speak and sing worshipful or prayerful messages.
These days, my scenario is reversed: it is very unnatural for me either to worship or to pray. (These two are distinct ideas, although obviously they overlap.) You might say I experience inertia with regard to sending messages to God. On the other hand, I can now get caught up in Bible reading—particularly when it’s oral reading—and I’m even more likely to lose myself in digging into a relatively small bit of scriptural text exegetically.
Back then: lots of output to God || comparatively little input from Him
Now: a good deal of far deeper input || almost no natural output to God
And I ask myself, Why can’t I be balanced?
I so greatly appreciated a very recent suggestion from a caring person I don’t know very well: “What about praying the Psalms”? This was not a novel idea for me; I’ve done this very thing in the past. But it did remind me of an idea worth trying again.
Praying the words of selected Psalms might even be seen as a nod toward “balance”: although the Psalms are most aptly seen as humans’ words to God, I figure this activity can be using scripture (≈ input) in order to pray (≈ output).
B. Casey, 5/29/15
Addendum 5/30: I did “pray the Psalms” while on a walk last night. After I’d seen an unrelated reminder of Psalm 20, an unfamiliar one to me, I chose that one and 103 and 50. It wasn’t easy, and I moved in and out of praying the words as though they were mine, but I sustained the activity for a good 15 minutes. Hey, it’s a start.