Mid September, and the end of a three month motorcycle tour of the US was in sight. Money had begun to run low, and Denver had just gotten snow. A bit east of Aspen I came across my own personal campground, deserted with the onset of the fall that comes early to the high country. Gold already adorned the aspen, and a likely looking trout stream ran next to my site. Lacking a license but unable to resist some temptations, I threw in a line, trusting in solitude, and landed a decent sized rainbow.
Earlier I'd picked up some artisan bread and plums, and baked the trout in the embers of the campfire. Leaning against an aspen, I enjoyed as fine a meal as I'd consumed the entire trip. I'm a pathetic musician, but I pulled out a harmonica and tried to match the tune of the stream as it ran to the sea. Since the evening came so near to perfection, the harmonica got put away so the stream could create its beauty uninterrupted.
So, what has this to do with spiritual formation? First, to feed your soul, live well. Not necessarily extravagantly, but well. That meal may have cost just a few dollars, but the ambiance and flavor and peacefulness matched the best New York restaurant. Enjoy the physical aspects of the life that God has provided. At times we must sacrifice, so sacrifice and smile. Other times we sit back and take pleasure in the world we're given. Both are normal, OK, and needed.
Second, find what feeds your unique soul. My wife's soul, in that same spot, would see it as a time of sacrifice, not feeding. Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas explores some of the varied ways we feed our soul, and we're each unique. Pick it up and digest it, it's well worth the time. I need regular mountain and outdoor fixes to restore me to humility and grace. Figure out what works best for you in connecting to God and his creation.
Kick Starting the Application
What have you found best connects you with God? Daily devotions? Praise music? Nature? Fellowship? Serving? What in that makes it work for you? What does that tell you about yourself? Pragmatically, what can you do to enhance your chances to connect with the grace of God's creation more frequently and deeply?