Archive for the ‘Guidance’ Category

Nudging

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

God is a nudge. Not in the nagging, annoying sense, but in a gentle, leaning-into sense. It is indeed a challenge to abandon the long-held belief that God yearns to blame and punish us, ask us to measure up or express disappointment and disapproval at every turn. It is part of our hardwiring. But we can feel, nonetheless, God nudging us beyond our tired, atrophied complacence toward something more oceanic and spacious. We feel God’s desire for fullness to dwell in us. We are always being pushed and inched closer to the “God who is always greater,” as Saint Ignatius frames it. Or as a homie changing gears in his head from Spanish to English awkwardly but accurately blurts, “God is Big.”

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 13

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 18, 2015

Detours

Friday, October 19th, 2018

But be warned. In Scripture, and in life, the road to deliverance nearly always takes a detour. Rarely do the people of God reach any kind of promised land without a journey or two through the wilderness.

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 48

Photo: Rhein River, Germany, April 4, 1997

A Guide to Truth

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Joy is a trustworthy guide to truth. Where joy is absent, we’re right to be suspicious, because joy is a characteristic of truth. It is not truth’s only trait; there are other marks to look for. But any teaching that doesn’t bear the mark of joy falls short of the whole truth. At times other aspects of truth (such as holiness or justice) may predominate, but where these other characteristics exist without a strong undercurrent of telltale joy — watch out!

While joy itself is not the truth, it illuminates or identifies truth. It’s the light shining on the signpost at night, telling us we’re on the right road. Joy is like the smile on the face of a loving friend. If we’re in a strange city and meet a familiar face in the crowd, yet receive no smile of greeting or recognition, we know something’s wrong. It’s a case of mistaken identity.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 93-94

Photo: Neuliningen, Germany, November 1, 1997

Vocation

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

God calls each of us to different vocations. Or, rather, God plants within us these vocations, which are revealed in our desires and longings. In this way God’s desires for the world are fulfilled, as we live out our own deepest desires. Vocation is less about finding one and more about having it revealed to you, as you pray to understand “what I want and desire.”

— James Martin, S.J., The Jesuit Guide to (Amost) Everything, P. 343.

God Speaks.

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

I realize that many dear followers of Christ have been taught that God only speaks to his sons and daughters through the Bible. The irony of that theology is this: that’s not what the Bible teaches! The Scriptures are filled with stories of God speaking to his people — intimately, personally. Adam and Eve spoke with God. As did Abraham, Moses, and Elijah. So did Noah, Gideon, Aaron, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ananias, and the apostle Paul. On and on the examples go.

— John Eldredge, Moving Mountains, p. 142-143.

True Belief

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

To believe in God is not to affirm His existence. To believe in God means to trust God, to rely on God to be there for you when you are afflicted by despair, to light your path when you are uncertain as to what to do.

— Harold S. Kushner, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life, p. 116.

More Labyrinth than Maze

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

The difference between a labyrinth and a maze is that a labyrinth has no dead ends….

It has become cliché to talk about faith as a journey, and yet the metaphor holds. Scripture doesn’t speak of people who found God. Scripture speaks of people who walked with God. This is a keep-moving, one-foot-in-front-of-the-other, who-knows-what’s-next deal, and you never exactly arrive. I don’t know if the path’s all drawn out ahead of time, or if it corkscrews with each step like in Alice’s Wonderland, or if, as some like to say, we make the road by walking, but I believe the journey is more labyrinth than maze. No step taken in faith is wasted, not by a God who makes all things new.

Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday, p. 180

Seeing Alternatives

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Most of our decisions do not lead us exactly where we want to go. Yet the more narrowly focused we are on a particular destination — the more focused we are on getting to a particular room — the harder it can be to see the alternatives. After all, if you’ve spent half your life chasing a dream — whether a dream job, a dream marriage, or a dream family — it’s terrifying to suddenly switch course and take a chance on something different. Yet only once we broaden our scope of vision can we see all the many other possibilities for happiness.

— Sherre Hirsch, Thresholds, p. 148

Doing as Christ Tells You

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

We can never come to know Jesus as he is by believing any theory about him. What I would point people to is a faith in the living, loving, ruling, helping Christ. It is not faith that Christ did this, or that his work wrought that which will save us. Rather, it is faith in the man himself who did and is doing everything for us.

Do you ask, “What is faith in him?”

I answer, the leaving of your way, your objects, your self, and the taking of his and him; the leaving of your trust in men, in money, in opinion, in character, in religious doctrines and opinions, and then doing as Christ tells you.

I can find no words strong enough to serve for the weight of this necessity — this obedience.

— George MacDonald, Knowing the Heart of God, p. 29

Practicing Faith

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Jesus did not walk by the Sea of Galilee and shout to fishermen, “Have faith!” Instead, he asked them to do something: “Follow me.” When they followed, he gave them more things to do. At first, he demonstrated what he wanted them to do. Then he did it with them. Finally, he sent them out to do it themselves, telling them to proclaim God’s reign and cure the sick. When they returned from this first mission, they could not believe what had happened. They discovered that proclaiming the kingdom was not a matter of teaching doctrine; rather, the kingdom was a matter of imitating Jesus’s actions. Jesus did not tell them to have faith. He pushed them into the world to practice faith. The disciples did not hope the world would change. They changed it. And, in doing so, they themselves changed.

— Diana Butler Ross, Christianity After Religion, p. 207-208