Thursday, October 27, 2011

Recollection: Ushering Us into Stillness

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NASB)

Recollection is the gentle re-gathering of our thoughts and refocusing or our attention on the Lord’s reality in our lives. This inner reorientation does not happen by chance—it is intentional.

Such recollection is not the absence of craziness going on in our lives. It will never happen if we wait for all of our problems to first be resolved.

Rather, we learn to recollect ourselves in the midst of demands, frustrations, deep disappointments, and a plethora of life’s concerns. Recollection is the riveting of our focus on the Lord, his love and his provision—precisely in the midst of our anxieties. Recollection takes our anxieties and releases them to the Lord. “Be anxious for nothing,” we are commanded.

As we consciously recollect ourselves on a regular basis, we will more and more often experience a phenomenal inner stillness.

That is what the next verse of Philippians 4 promises, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

The more we practice recollection the more we will encounter such stillness. We may not necessarily experience it all the time—and we cannot try to “work it up”—but we will experience God’s peace and stillness.

We cannot create that stillness; however, we can cultivate it. Just like the flowers in our back yard—I cannot create the blossoms, but I can cultivate the plants so that in due season they bloom. So also in my life, I can cultivate recollection and stillness. In time, that inner peace will blossom.

Inner stillness is an inner calmness. It is a place where we rest in God, “for in him is eternal stillness.” [1]

Inner stillness is like a garden in the midst of a hectic city. The summer I lived in Paris, I used to visit a number of little parks or gardens near the school where I was taking classes. Even though it was in the middle of a bustling city, there was calmness, focus, quietness—despite the din of traffic that surrounded that place.

So God offers us stillness in the midst of all our life’s challenges—if we will but enter that inner garden that he offers us.

[1] Johannes Tauler Predigten: Vollständige Ausgabe, edited by Georg Hofmann (Freiburg: Herder, 1961), p. 150.

© 2011 Glenn E. Myers

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