This past week, I remembered when a special guest presenter from the fire department visited my elementary school. He talked about what a person must do if their clothing caught on fire.
Back when I was growing up, my family enjoyed camping, especially during the summer months and we often made campfires, so I took note of the ways to address this unexpected life threatening situation.
The instruction included three primary words: Stop, Drop, Roll. Stop where you are; Drop to the ground; and Roll over and over, back and forth, to snuff out the flames.
The weather turned warm this past week. On our daily dog walks, I noticed that Grace, our German Shorthaired Pointer, tended to run from the shade of one tree to the next. When she arrived under the shelter of the tree, she repeatedly and enthusiastically stopped, dropped, and rolled.
Grace stopped and dropped in the shade. Then, she began to roll in the lush green grass. She enjoyed rolling from side to side, and all the way over, while stretching out her legs and arms. Occasionally she snatched up some verdant grass for a little snack. I wondered if the blanket of grass underneath her felt cool to her warm body. It seemed that the rolling both refreshed and rejuvenated her to continue the walk.
Watching Grace stop, drop, and roll continues to bring a smile to my face and lifts my heart. She endearingly rolls around through the grass without a care in the world. During the winter months when the weather was cool and moisture filled the air, walks with Grace involved running and sniffing plants, but did not include her recent stop, drop, and roll practice. This prompted some thoughts.
Spiritual practices put us in spiritual, emotional, and physical places where we attune to the Holy Spirit. These practices position us to live a life of surrender to the movement of God who transforms and shapes us to look more like our Savior, Jesus Christ. Sometimes though, the ways and means of encountering God need to change. Just as the seasons change in the environment, so too, the seasons change within our soul. I wonder if it is time to stop, drop, and roll with fresh spiritual practices?
Take a moment to consider the spiritual practices that you currently engage to nourish your soul.
Throughout the different seasons of my life, I have noticed how spiritual practices shift to bring about refreshment and depth with God. There have been times of intense Bible study which drew me close to God. At other times, praying through prayer cards attached with a silver ring drove my heart into the presence of God. Listening to worship music, podcasts, and apps like “Pray as you Go” and “Lectio 365” also stir longing for God and deeper knowing of Him and His presence through the rigors of life. These days, the Lord often invites me into spaces for solitude and silence, in which I sense His movement and gentle tug at my soul.
Have you ever felt as though the spiritual practices you engage are mundane, rote habit, or just something to do, and yet you fail to experience closeness with God? This experience happens amongst most all followers of Christ.
Sometimes the practices which nourished and cultivated our soul for the Lord need to change. We need to stop, drop, and roll.
Stop where you are and wonder about your spiritual practices. Which rhythms invigorate your journey with Jesus? Do any practices flow from compulsion instead of longing for God? Notice the habits which breathe life to your soul as well as those which seem empty or hollow. Stop and evaluate the practices you engage and ponder if you might be in a new season which requires different ways of encountering God.
Drop those practices which no longer engage your heart with God. Perhaps consider new ways of meeting with the Lord.
For example, if reading your Bible feels senseless, maybe consider listening to the Bible instead. Bible Gateway and many other Bible apps offer ways to hear the Word of God. Listen while you drive to work, walk the dog, or prepare a meal. Listen and reflect.
If prayer seems ineffective, consider engaging prayers from the Scriptures or those penned by saints in the past. Allow these examples to lead your heart into communion with God. One of my favorite prayers is this simple one taken from Hebrews 13:21: “Equip me, O Lord, with everything good, to do your will, and bring you glory.” Additionally, the Welcome Prayer and Serenity Prayer both offer fresh means of meeting with God. Drop that which no longer leads you to Jesus and enter into a new practice to cultivate your journey with God.
Roll in the goodness of God with different creative practices which direct your mind, heart, and soul into the presence of God. Just as Grace loves to roll in the grass to rest and find refreshed, roll with God by employing untried practices to receive renewal. If you need ideas, ask others – friends, family members, co-workers, pastors, even google 🤪. One way I’m rolling with a new practice with God occurs when I walk Grace. I set Pandora to modern worship, put in headphones, and allow praise music to flood my soul for the duration of the walk. I notice the beautiful ways God meets with me in this way and rejuvenates me within.
Just as the seasonal weather outside shifts, inner shifts within our soul also occur as we walk with Jesus. God invites us to come to Him. He welcomes us into His presence.
Stop, drop, and roll with the One who loves and delights in you. Stop where you are to consider the spiritual nourishment of the practices that you engage. Drop those spiritual habits that no longer draw you deeper into the love of God. Roll into fresh rhythms that usher you into the presence of God where your soul receives rest, refreshment, and rejuvenation for the journey ahead with Him.
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…
Psalm 121:8 – the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Mark Buckanan. Spiritual Rhythm: Being with Jesus Every Season of Your Soul. Grand Rapids, MI. 2010.
Ruth Haley Barton. Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation. Downers Grove, IL. 2006.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Hillsong. Stronger. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdSiMyhcTq0
Jesus Culture. Walk with Me.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWaM5LTxMGU4