Daily Riches: Stability–Looking for God Where You Are (Paul Wilkes, Lynne Baab, and Amy Peterson)

“The first vow laid out in Benedict’s Rule is stability. To a monk or sister, it means being committed to stay in this particular monastic house with these particular people. It means being willing to look for God here in the constancy of this place in this rhythm of life, rather than seeking God in ever-changing places and varied routines. In Beyond the Walls: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life, Paul Wilkes calls stability a ‘sense of where you are,’ and he believes that our disjointed lives and fragmented society present ample evidence that we desperately need to embrace stability. ‘What was needed, Benedict taught, was maddeningly simple. It was a commitment to trust in God’s goodness–that he was indeed there, in that very place; and that holiness, happiness, and human fulfillment were to be found, not tomorrow or over the hill, but here–today. . . . Stability’s goal is that we might see the inner truth of who we are and [where] we are going. That we might be still long enough to be joined intimately to the God who dwells within . . . . It is difficult–no, it is impossible–to find and maintain that center if our waking hours are a blur of mindless activity, without the presence and practice of stability in our lives.’” Lynne Baab

“I begin to wonder if I, like the brothers at Taize and the desert monks, need to learn the discipline of stability. Do I need roots, when this earth is not my home? That third instruction from Saint Anthony sinks like a seed into the dark recesses of my heart and lies dormant for a long time: ‘In whatever place you live, do not easily leave it.’” Amy Peterson

“So Boaz said to Ruth, ‘My daughter, listen to me.
Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here.
Stay here with the women who work for me.'”
Ruth 2:8 NIV

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Do you tend to give up too easily on a place? . . . a call? . . . a relationship?
  • Will you determine to “wait for the right moment?” . . . to wait for God’s permission before you decide to “move on?”

Abba, slow me down when my instinct is to flee.

For More: Beyond the Walls by Paul Wilkes

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Peterson, Amy. “Wanderlust: A Personal History.” Essay in The Other Journal: Geography, No. 24.
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Wilkes, Paul. Beyond the Walls: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life. New York: Doubleday, 1999.

Daily Riches: Sticking When Things Get Tough (Joan Chittister)

“Stability says that where I am is where God is for me. More than that, stability teaches that whatever the depth of the dullness or the difficulties around me, I can, if I will simply stay still enough of heart, find God there in the midst of them. …When the monastic makes a vow of stability it is a vow designed to still the wandering heart. There comes a time in life when everyone else’s family seems to have been better than my own. …when this job, this home, this town, this family all seem irritating and deficient beyond the bearable.  …when I regret every major decision I’ve ever made. That is precisely the time when the spirituality of stability offers its greatest gift. Stability enables me to outlast the dark, cold places of life until the thaw comes and I can see new life in this uninhabitable place again. But for that to happen I must learn to wait through the winters of my life. …[Stability] says that we have an obligation to see things through until we have done for them what can be done, and, no less important, until they have done for us what can be done for us. …Stability says that we will stay with the humdrum if only to condition our souls to cope with the unfleeable in life. We stay with what, if we want to, we really could get away from so that we can come someday to cope with what we will not be able to leave. …It is not easy to continue the hard work of being here when everything around us says go there where it will be easier. It is hard to go on when it would be so much simpler just to quit. But the question becomes, what will happen to me as a person … if I don’t persist, if I don’t see this through? …In the first place, I will certainly fail to learn a great deal about myself… [and] in the second place, I will lose the opportunity to grow.” Joan Chittister

“But you, keep your head in all situations,
endure hardship”
2 Timothy 4:5

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Are you thinking about quitting something hard or moving on to something more exciting?
  • Do you have a history of quitting on things or people prematurely? If so, what has that cost you?
  • Could you trust instead that where you are is “where God is for you?” That God has something in mind greater than you do? …something that depends on you staying?

Abba, keep me from running after the shiny, the new, the easy.

For More: Wisdom Distilled From the Daily by Joan Chittister

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Thanks for following and sharing “Daily Riches.” – Bill (Psalm 90:14)