I find baking relaxing.
There’s something about following a recipe, considering each part and what it contributes, that has a quieting hold on me. Each step, rendered properly, yields a wonderful end result. There are various mitigating factors--I worry about having the right kind of flour or butter, enough flavoring, and the ever-vexing oven temperature issue--but for the most part a recipe’s defined structure helps create that aroma of freshly baked something, made by my own hands, that spells satisfaction of the senses.
Following directions for anything can be this satisfying, especially when victory over some sort of conundrum is the result: destination found, item fixed, program recorded, etc.
Time with God can lead to an understanding about prayer which, while we like to think so, has no definable ingredients every time, but does yield the same results: an opening of self to God. Well, if we let it happen--but of course, that’s the hard part.
My time with God has morphed in various ways--I’ve had a harder time doing Centering prayer with the baby kicking and repositioning, but feel a deep need to return to meditation, to let my baby experience it (just as much as I like to read and play music for the munchkin to take in), to quell the fears and forge focus in my life. I’m going to need it--and if you’re experiencing any kind of major life change, this kind of centering is a must, since often making change involves a real surrender of something.
Time with God has been for me lately both moments of bliss and of worry.
Bliss comes in simple things--sunlight filtered through the windows at different times of day. I’ll pause, look out the window, and consider the new day God has given me. The light comes slowly, and drapes over different things in the yard, then joins me in the kitchen as I cut up some fruit, or on the couch as I write or take in the news of the day or daydream. Then I stop--and wonder is my only responsibility in that moment.
Being patient in prayer--not allowing panic to consume me--determines whether I spend quality time with God. Even as I write this I am getting impatient with how slow I write. But then I slow down. Breathe. Take in ideas one by one (instead of at lightning media pace we’ve grown accustomed to). The sounds and sensations around me integrate into my consciousness, and all of a sudden--I’ve got a writing meditation!
I was in the hospital recently for some emergency testing and found myself in a moment of chaos, my brain addled with what ifs, and no choice but to hurry up and wait. Oddly, I started writing to grasp the moment, and it took some letting go of pretense and perfection, but the writing brought me out of my muddled head. I reflected back on the ways God entered my life in such moments of impatience and worry. In spits and spurts, I found myself creating, striving to connect with the living God in a moment of desperation.
In this surrendering, I found hope--and I wish the same for you.