Saturday, June 22, 2013

"How is the Spirit Calling?"

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; God is  the one who will keep you on track.

 I have been a spiritual director for a number of years now.  Spiritual direction is about companioning people as they seek to live in God’s presence—it’s really not about any actual ‘direction’ in the sense of telling someone what to do.  I’ve found the whole process wonderfully helpful in my own spiritual life.  Often, when I feel led to ask someone a question, I’ll realize that the question is also my question. 

That happened to me recently.  The person who sat before me was going through some difficulty at her church (in another denomination), and I found myself putting the question like this:  “The Spirit hasn’t abandoned you; the Spirit is still doing its job, so to speak, calling you toward transformation.  How do you imagine that’s happening for you?  What does that calling look like for you in the midst of all this difficulty?”

This time of transition here at CoH is such an incredible opportunity for us to grow spiritually.  Alan Jones once wrote:   The Spirit is most present at three open spaces in our livesin the unpredictable,  in the place of risk, and in those areas over which we have no control.  And times of transition are great examples of “open spaces.”  During a transition we abide in what’s called “liminal” space, like the space we inhabit when we stand in a threshold between the past and the future.  Liminality means that the space we formerly inhabited, which was secure in its familiarity, is no longer, and the space we’ll inhabit in the future is undefined and full of questions.  Times of transition ask us to let go and place our trust in God, in the healing and loving power always at work in our world.
So, when I ask myself that question—How is the Holy Spirit calling me during this time of living in liminal space—what does that calling look like for me?—my sense is that I need to be more intentional about practicing trust.  I know that trust is not a warm fuzzy feeling; it’s a decision, a choice I have to make each moment.  I’ve made myself a little poster for my office, to remind me. 
The other thing is that the Spirit may be calling me, once again, to learn to let go of outcomes.  This has nothing to do with passivity.  In fact, to let go is a powerful action, but it’s an internal action, a change in attitude or outlook.   In this particular time of transition at our church, I think this means, for me, to let go of clinging to seeing things only one way, remembering always that the Spirit is at work both in the lives of every person in this amazing congregation and at work in creating a variety of possible futures (all of them full of God’s presence) that we simply cannot now see.  Importantly, this also entails uniting this letting go with the essence of spiritual trust found in the difficult but stunningly wise words of St. Julian of Norwich, the English mystic:  “All shall be well.  All shall be well.  And all manner of thing shall be well.”  
Gracious God, you are with us all, guiding and sustaining and healing, creating joy and bringing love to our lives.  May we respond with trust, with gratitude, and with the eyes to see how indeed all shall be well.  Amen.

1 comment:

Robin said...

Thank you for being MY spiritual director today!