Who Sparks Our Creative Passions
I have tried to take spiritual retreats where I go to a quiet place armed only with my bible, a journal, and my thoughts. It usually is a miserable time. I struggle to hear God’s whisper of truth just for the sake of my personal edification. I hear stories of amazing retreats of this nature taken by friends and colleagues. I am always a bit envious. I get too distracted with my random thoughts and don’t come away with much besides frustration. I have learned to take a different type of retreat.
The best kind of spiritual retreat for me is to block out some time to do all the things that I love, that I don’t have time to pursue in the everyday. It starts with putting on my favorite shirt, one that people don’t exactly want to see a pastor wearing. Then it is off to the grocery store where I buy my favorite foods. I cook up my favorite things, usually this involves my smoker. Then I go into my wood shop and make lots of glorious sawdust. With no project in mind, I just examine my collection wood and see what speaks to me.
If it is summer, I also make a late night trip to the boat for night sailing. To go night sailing is to know its benefits. When you are a mile out of the city, under the starry sky, it is so quiet, except for the sounds of sailing. You can hear water splashing against the hull and the gentle luffing noise the sail makes when you get lost in the moment, and head slightly off course. All of these things speak to my spirit in ways that little else does.
One thing all of these have in common is that they take creativity and skill they take. Doing these kind of things produces passion in our lives. This passion can then lend itself to our calling as children of God in the world. I am a much better pastor after taking time to work in my wood shop. I have more ability to hear the needs of others when my own needs aren’t drowning them out.
I also believe that God calls us to be interesting people with something to share. Following our passions in life develops as human beings. I found myself walking through a casino a while back, in search of a new restaurant. As I walked through the smoky room, I noticed people sitting slumped over at nickel slot machines, pulling the handles. Its like they were working at a never-ending factory job. The blank looks of despair made me sad. I wanted to shake them and say, “We have been created for so much more than this.” For fear of being thrown out of the casino, I just kept walking.
One of my favorite questions that I stole from my time with the Quakers at George Fox college is, “How is it with your soul today?” It makes me take stock of how much passion I have to give to others. The problem is that I sometimes forget to ask it. It is usually when I get too busy with life, that I miss the importance of balancing work with play. Then I know it is time for another “spiritual retreat.”
I would love to know what it is that fills your spirit with passion.