I couldn’t get into C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid. I had an unfounded opposition to anything that seemed like fantasy or science fiction to me. Oh, the stories I missed out on! Now that I have kids, however, I love diving into stories of the Pevensies and others each night. I am consistently amazed at how they resonate with me, even as an adult. Sometimes, there’s beauty that takes my breath away. Other times, I confront something that gently challenges me.
In The Silver Chair, the sixth book, Aslan—that magical, mystical, analogical lion—gives young Jill Pole a list of instructions, and tells her to remember them very carefully. Jill’s on a mission, and the instructions are crucial for its successful completion.
When she first gets the instructions, she doesn’t understand how important they are. She thinks having the gist is enough. But Aslan insists she repeat them back to him until she has them memorized perfectly. Once she does, she’s diligent about repeating them to herself—for a while. Then the mission gets distracting. She has a lot to take in, since she’s in a new place. She needs the instructions to complete her mission properly. But she falls asleep too quickly some nights. Other things come up. Soon, she’s forgotten the specifics, and her journey gets harder and harder to complete.
We read this section a few weeks ago, and I took the opportunity to explain to my son that the same thing happens to me sometimes. I stay up too late and feel too tired to say my prayers before bed. Or I don’t have my normal car trips, so my daily rosary falls by the wayside. It’s natural, I told him, that this happens. But see how it makes things harder. When we realize we’ve stopped saying our prayers well, when we’re rushing or shortening them to do something else, we need to fix it as soon as we can. We can always fix it. There is always mercy. Always grace.
Despite reading this and explaining it my little guy, it still took me a while to realize what was wrong when my life started to feel bumpier than usual these last few weeks. End of school, I told myself. Transition to summer. Work deadlines. Illness.
But then these things settled out and something still felt off. Did I need to eat healthier? I wondered. (Probably.) Do I need to sleep more? (The answer is always yes.) What would make me feel settled, happy . . . peaceful again?
Prayer. I’d neglected prayer, or at least not added more in when times got tough. Like Jill, I am on a mission, and like Jill, I need the guidance of my Lord, my Aslan, to help me make my way through. I could try to do it on my own, but it’s going to be a lot harder.
Caring for my body is important. Engaging my mind is wise. But when my soul is restless, it is because it is not resting in the Lord.
I know prayer needs to be a part of my day, every day. I need to take time to be still and know that the Lord is God—and I am not. It’s said that prayer is the only thing that you can add into your day and find that you have more time at the end of it (forgive me, I can’t find the citation).
Thank God for the moving of the Holy Spirit to redirect me, to put me back on the path, to give me yet another shot at following the Lord I love. Thank God for bedtime stories to set this mama back on course.
What’s missing from your prayer life these days? How can you bring your soul to life in a renewed way this week?
Copyright 2017 Lindsay Schlegel