Mystical Monday: Are you too busy?


God being who He is must always be sought for Himself, never as a means toward something else.
— A.W. Tozer

Theresa of AvilaFrom St. Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle, The First Mansions, Chapter I:

You must understand that there are many ways of “being” in a place. Many souls remain in the outer court of the castle, which is the place occupied by the guards; they are not interested in entering it, and have no idea what there is in that wonderful place, or who dwells in it, or even how many rooms it has. You will have read certain books prayer which advise the soul to enter within itself: and that is exactly what this means.

A short time ago I was told by a very learned man that souls without prayer are like people whose bodies or limbs are paralysed: they possess feet and hands but they cannot control them. In the same way, there are souls so infirm and so accustomed to busying themselves with outside affairs that nothing can be done for them, and it seems as though they are incapable of entering within themselves at all. So accustomed have they grown to living all the time with the reptiles and other creatures to be found in the outer court of the castle that they have almost become like them; and although by nature they are so richly endowed as to have the power of holding converse with none other than God Himself, there is nothing that can be done for them. Unless they strive to realize their miserable condition and to remedy it, they will be turned into pillars of salt for not looking within themselves, just as Lot’s wife was because she looked back.

“The one thing I ask of the Lord—the thing I seek most—is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord’s perfections and meditating in his Temple.” – King David @ Psalms 27:4 (NLT)


I thought moving out of the big city was the recipe for peace in my life. After living in the booming metropolis of Atlanta for eight years, I felt uneasy in my soul as I succumbed to the world’s clutter around me. There were seemingly endless things to do to eat away at my time, if I could find someone not as busy to do it with me. I was through with overcrowded daily planners and meetings every night of the week. A smaller city would fix my problem, right?

It only took two weeks of living in a much smaller town before I began to question the reasoning behind part of my decision to
move. Could it really be just as busy here? And that’s when I began to realize that the problem wasn’t the big city—the problem was me. I failed miserably when it came to making sure my relationship with God was truly my top priority. I’ve found just proclaiming something doesn’t make it true regardless of how much you want to believe it. If my relationship with God truly rested atop my list of priorities, I had a funny way of showing it.

St. Teresa’s words haunted me: “… there are souls so infirm and so accustomed to busying themselves with outside affairs that nothing can be done for them, and it seems as though they are incapable of entering within themselves at all.” Was I one of those souls? While riding my bike to work one morning a couple of days after this revelation, I felt impressed to stop and just sit beside this pond where I usually stop. This morning instead of reading the Bible, I felt as though I was simply to sit and to be. It was difficult at first. Silence may be golden, but it’s rare in my life. However, this morning, I reveled in it—so much so that I almost wanted to spend the rest of the day watching the geese soar inches above the motionless water and the fish jumping out of the water to snag an unsuspecting bug. And that’s when I heard God speak, reassuring me about a troubling situation I had been going through.

Sometimes I find St. Teresa’s words to be harsh, but I also understand they were birthed out of a heart that understood seeking God wasn’t a hobby—it was a way of life that must consume us daily. She recognized that a passive approach to God would leave us well outside his inner gates where we discover the true depth of his love for us. Who wouldn’t want to know that? Out of that understanding comes a heart so full of his love that we can’t help but shower it upon others.

To know God in this way takes a commitment to not just making time for Him but simply being with Him. Prayer is as much
about listening to God as it is talking to him. Whether we are quiet or fall on our faces in prayer, we experience the depth of his amazing love that is found in simply being with Him when we take time to silence our minds and open our hearts to him. For it is there that we press deeper into God.

Your Thoughts:
1) Is it easy for you to sit in silence before God? Why or why not? What obstacles to silence and quieting your life before God do you face? What are some ways you can overcome them?

2) St. Teresa said she believes there are people who have become complacent with sitting outside of God’s courts, that they have no desire to move forward and do what it takes to enter in. Where are you in your journey—sitting outside the gates or pressing in? Why? Where do you want to be?

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