Leap of Faith Episode 28: Walking a Labyrinth

Camp MYW

Hello Hello! Welcome to May.

During this season of social distancing, I imagine we are all falling into a fairly straightforward routine. I don’t know what your day looks like but I imagine many days are looking the same. For me, its wake up, do some work at the computer, eventually, go for a walk, watch some Netflix, work on a project, and bed. It’s a simple routine and its fairly repetitive.

It’s in the repetitiveness that I want to encourage you to think about your spiritual life.

It is really easy to frame this season in a negative light: stuck at home and in the same old dull routine. I wake at the same time every day, I am at my desk for long hours every day, and I walk the same path every day.

But in this repetitiveness, there is an opportunity to turn inward into our spiritual life and leverage the consistency and monotony of life toward holy ends.

Specifically, I’m talking about the tradition of labyrinth walking.

Now, if you are unfamiliar with labyrinth walking you are not alone. It is a less used spiritual practice that comes from a more traditional aspect of our faith.

Here’s the idea:

At a certain point in the history of the church, it was common for holy orders to go on pilgrimages or crusades. The idea being that one would pick up their life and pursue God’s will through a journey to a holy place. This was quite commonly a path from a Western European country to places in Israel. The pilgrimage was an opportunity for focus, for contemplation, and for the chance to hear from God in the holy place they were visiting.

Eventually, this practice of pilgrimages became not only a physical practice but an inward spiritual practice: labyrinth walking.

A labyrinth is less of a maze and more of a single path toward a set goal. There is only ever one path, no dead ends, and it has a fixed goal (typically in the middle of the labyrinth). When someone walks a labyrinth they move inward toward the goal and then outward back to the outside world.

In this sense, walking a labyrinth is an opportunity for a dedicated focus on God, listening to him, prayer, and reflection. By entering into the labyrinth we set our path, for a short while, in one direction and this setting of our path mirrors the internal effort to set out minds on God.

What does this have to do with you and your rhythms in social isolation?

If part of your routine is walking you probably find yourself walking/running a similar, if not the same, paths every day. It’s good for the soul to be outside but I know my walks can easily devolve into fear, worry, and distraction. I slowly resent the walk, even though it is a great privilege to be walking outdoors, and it becomes a chore to my life; a duty I must perform.

What if we began to see our walking/running as a sort of labyrinth, as an opportunity to enter into God’s presence, and reflect on an aspect of our journey?

What if you could leverage the monotony and the repetitiveness into a spiritual practice?

This is ultimately why I wanted to talk about labyrinth walking today. We are already on the journey and committed to walking/running: why not give that part of your day to God as a spiritual exercise?

So how do we make our walk a labyrinth?

As spiritual exercises go labyrinth walking is a lot more freeform. There is no set way of walking a labyrinth but for learning, I thought I could present a simple way of thinking about it:

  1. As you enter into your labyrinth, begin by quieting your heart and mind by praying, repeating a simple prayer (“God have mercy on me”) or a short verse.
  2. Reflect on your steps as you take them. Consider each step a step into focus on God.
  3. Contemplate a prayer, scripture, or a spiritual question.
    Some examples of spiritual questions:
    Do I know the depths of God’s love?
    Am I full of Jesus’ compassion?
    Where is God in the midst of pandemic?
    Where is there hidden sin in my life?
  4. When you arrive at the centre of your labyrinth (the middle or turn around point in your walk) stop and take a moment to reflect on the spiritual journey you have been on. Pray and listen to God.
  5. Begin the journey back this time reflecting on your reflection. Focusing on what God has brought to mind and to your heart.
  6. When returning home take a moment to pray again. You may also want to journal your reflections.

That’s really it. Plain and simple you take something you are already doing and offer that time and energy to focus on God.

We are on your team as you go through the rhythms of life in social isolation. We want to encourage you and be there for you. We are praying for you. You can reach Pat by email at pat@miniyowe.com.

Walk with the Lord every day… you’re probably going for a walk anyways… may as well invite him along. Focus your heart and mind and see what God will do in you.

And in the meantime keep being awesome.

This post is part of our Leap of Faith Audio Check-ins. We want to encourage you to leap into your faith and continue to grow at home, at school, and in your church. These audio check-ins are meant to encourage you as live out your faith every day. 

Want to keep growing?

There are more episode of Leap of Faith and other resources for you to grow in your leadership and faith here.