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Jet lag kick-started my enthusiasm for practising the spiritual disciplines.  At the end of September we were just back from a trip to Holland to visit my husband’s family. Knowing that jet lag would likely wake us before our usual waking time, Michiel suggested that we listen to the three sermons that we had missed while we were away. Great idea!

So the next morning at 4:30, with our habitual morning cup of tea, we listened to the first of the Cultivating Life sermons: the motivation for practising spiritual disciplines. I was hooked from the start. Not only am I someone who likes structure and order in my life, I had also just been through a year of bringing balance back into my life after a burn-out phase from the summer before last. I was ready for any suggestions, not of control, but of surrender and a deeper relationship with the Lord. And this is what the spiritual disciplines spoke to me: rest and surrender to God’s order in my life.

The next two mornings, the jet lag was a little less, but still enough to wake us early enough to catch up on the other sermons we had missed. The following Sunday, thanks to jet-lag and my husband’s suggestion, I was up-to-speed on the teaching and, so, when Mardi asked us to commit to practising a spiritual discipline for 9 months, I was ready to sign on the dotted line.

I had already been practising Sabbath rest and a morning quiet time. And so I committed to adding 15 more minutes to my quiet time and to practising meditation in that time. I have always found meditation difficult and a little pointless, to be honest, because so many distracting thoughts would cram into that space that I would think, “Why bother? Just pray instead.” And so I would talk to God.

Now, I light a candle, and I take time just to be still before God, often repeating His words, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ to focus myself on my time with Him. God doesn’t speak to me audibly in these times but I do sense that He is ministering to my soul. For me, this action is one of submission acknowledging that I am not God, and that I look to Him to direct my life. I enjoy this morning ‘hang out’ time with God; there is now no awkwardness. It is like those times in marriage when you fall into companionable silence and words are not needed to fill the empty spaces.


Brenda is married to Michiel and, except for the increasing impatience of Lonsdale drivers chasing to catch up with their lives, loves living on Lonsdale. When the sun is out, they are avid West Vancouver seawall walkers and summer beach barbequers.