A Buckle in the Rug

In Well Time this week we were talking about spiritual practices or disciplines and how they   can become so rote that they no longer provide our spiritual muscles with the challenge and the boost that they need to maintain, let alone grow, in vitality and strength.

A spiritual life that has lost its vitality is something I bet we all have experienced at one time or another. If that is where you are now, it’s time to try a new exercise.

Last week I mentioned a spiritual practice called Visio Divina and included the instructional steps for this practice along with some sample images. I hope you were able to try it.

As Step 2 of Visio Divina says “God is luring you to a treasure meant just for you.”  That really piqued my curiosity so I have begun doing this practice regularly. I chose the picture above for my reflection time this week. It is The Annunciation by Henry Ossawa Tanner. I was drawn to how “normal” Mary looks and how unusual the angel Gabriel is portrayed. Just a bright white light. I could really put myself into this setting.

What really amazed me though, was what I ended up fixating on as I meditated on this image. It wasn’t the ethereal Gabriel. It wasn’t the beauty of Mary’s innocent yet courageous face. It wasn’t her choice of comfort over style in her bed clothes.

It was the buckle in the rug.

Step 3 of Visio Divina says “Meditate on the part of the picture that has drawn your attention. How is God speaking to you? Why do you think God drew your attention to this particular part? Is a message conveyed that pertains to your life today?”

That buckle in the rug is unsettling to me. I want so badly to straighten it out. I want her to straighten it out? What is wrong with her? Can’t she see that? There is a messenger from God in her bedroom. Straighten the rug!

Hmm…maybe there is a message God is trying to convey to me. Have I missed my visits from his messengers because I was too busy straitening the rug? What are the distractions that lure me away from the presence of the holy and the divine that visits me each day?

Why do I let myself get distracted? Am I afraid of something? Am I unable to grasp the power and the love in those visits? Do I feel unworthy of such attention?

Looks like this new exercise is truly giving my spiritual muscles a work out. I think God is calling me to a nap. But first I better wash those breakfast dishes.


*If you are looking for a practice to liven up your spiritual life, consider getting into God’s word.

Join us for a six-week study of the Gospel of Mark. It’s a perfect place to start if you have never done a Bible study before. We will meet on Mondays starting January 31 at 10:00-11:30 at the Firstfruits space. If you would rather Zoom in for this series that is an option.  Register online at firstfruits.info and note in the comment section if you choose to join us via Zoom.

Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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