A New Year Spiritual Path: A Minister's Experience in a Labyrinth

A New Year Spiritual Path: A Minister's Experience in a Labyrinth
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Tonight, I walked a labyrinth. It’s one I’ve walked many times before, as it gets set up at least twice a year at the church I serve. Every time I enter onto the canvas in my sock feet and begin to make my way through its winding, painted pathways, I discover again my dire need for this kind of meditation and silence in my all-too-busy life.

And yet, somehow I forget. I forget how much more calm and wise I can become through silence and meditation, and I let the worries and frustrations of busyness rule my soul.

But inside this path, I am found again. My spirit is calmed and my mind cleared. And in those moments of silence, I often am sparked with God’s intuitions, and I begin to hear anew those deep and wise spiritual callings on my life.

We set up our labyrinth at times of holiness and transition at River Road Church, Baptist. We often have it available with Stations of the Cross during Holy Week, and we always have it available at the New Year, when we tend to reflect and dream on our year past and year to come.

The pathway opens our minds as we quiet ourselves and listen, and often I leave a meditative walk with small portions of new wisdom.

This year, I found the word simplify in the pathway. (Thoreau would have been proud, I suppose…)

What kinds of things did I realize I needed to simplify this year?

My Body: For too long I have over-indulged in a stressful, sedentary lifestyle that has robbed me of simple and clean eating, and the simple and needed act of regular exercise. This year, I simplify – my diet and my routine, and hopefully, come out with a more content body.

My Mind: With a diagnosed anxiety disorder, one can feel a little helpless around stress and worry. But by simplifying my life – empowering myself to stop and rest, giving myself grace, and engaging in consistent healthy behaviors that feed the mind (exercise, reading, being present in nature, etc.) – I have a chance (with the help of doctors, therapists, and yes – medication) to find a peace and contentment that my anxiety can’t touch.

My Spirit: As I walked the path, I kept seeing our church’s stewardship slogan on the wall: “Rooted in Faith” with an image of a tree with roots reaching downward and then growing outward. I was reminded again that I believe. I’m a believer. Sometimes this seems so silly in a world where one can live without belief and be pretty darn happy. But for me, only my faith grounds me, and without it, I am lost. Without my call, I am lost. When I try to deny it, I find myself again pulled by my soul-strings into the fold of God. Faith is believing without seeing, a simple, yet profoundly difficult prospect. I must continue to simplify, and remember that simple faith – believing even when it’s uncomfortable or hard – molds me daily into someone God can be proud to call Daughter.

My Life: No one of these can be simplified without the others – they rely on each other. This year, I’m committed to whole-living and giving to myself and of myself as I seek to embrace the peace Christ brings into the world, and as I seek to become that peace for others through my ministry.

Walking this path twice a year, I remember the importance of this work – the work of silence and dedication to the growth of the soul. I turn to face the path and as a final prayer, I give thanks for the pilgrims before me who saw. They saw this need for meditation and walking with God. They saw through faith the importance of quiet interaction with the Divine. And I pray, God, give me eyes to see like them.

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