recalibrateWhen you have a compass, you need to recalibrate it depending on your current location. With the electronic compass on my iPhone I move the phone in a figure 8 several times to allow it to calibrate to my current location. I can’t just pull it out and use it.

If the compass heading is off by just one degree, over a long journey you can end up very far away from your intended destination. For a successful journey, you need to recalibrate your compass regularly.

Several times a year I travel to a Benedictine monastery for a private retreat of few days duration, and I’ve found it’s often a time of recalibration for me. It’s a time to slow down, to be totally alone if I want to, and to engage in an environment that lends itself to prayer. Instead of running my internal clock by my external schedule (i.e. meetings, emails, phone calls, internet, etc.) I can get away from all that, and align my internal clock with the daily schedule of prayer that the monastery provides.

After spending time at the monastery, I experience a recalibration in my life. Things I was focused on before, I can now recognize as relatively unimportant. Other things that had become obscured become visible again. It’s surprising how God’s voice stands out in silence.

On my most recent visit to the monastery I was reading books about the Sabbath. About 24 hours into my stay, I felt refreshed and re-energized as though the internal compass of my life had been recalibrated. The thought came to me then that I could experience this recalibration every week if I actually practiced the Sabbath. It’s one of the Ten Commandments, yet I’ve never consistently observed it.

If I recalibrated my internal compass every week, there would undoubtedly be less drift over time. My compass would work accurately and the destination would be reached. Often we only notice the variation in our heading when we’ve gone far afield. How much better to recalibrate regularly and stay on track!

Today’s entry is by guest blogger Mark Fields, director for Vineyard Missions.