Archive for the ‘Guidance’ Category

The Grace of Trust

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

We need the grace of Trust more than we realize. We want everything to happen now — right now — in our lives. And we want to recognize the sound of every footstep we hear. We have to stop wanting, wanting, wanting life to be what it will never, ever be — familiar, controllable, and wrapped around our personal needs. That impossible craving is what leads to attacks of stress, panic, and inner madness. Instead we must contact the grace of Trust. We must learn to rest easy in the mobius of prayer and trust, guidance and action. Rather than imagining greatness or humiliation, power or powerlessness. Your imagination is an engine of creation, a vessel through which your inside coordinates the outside of your life. Imagining greatness for yourself is rooted in the fear of humiliation. The end product is an ego full of hubris. Driven by fear, you will end up in the fog of panic and uncertainty. The discipline — and it is a discipline — is to apply the grace of Trust. Trust brings detachment. You do not have to interfere with heaven’s work. If you knew what was best for you, you would not need heaven’s help. Just Trust.

— Caroline Myss, Intimate Conversations with the Divine, p. 120

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 14, 2020

An Ongoing Plan

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

The spiritual plan for your life is an ongoing plan. It doesn’t start and stop, like jobs you begin and quit. Our blind spot — and it is a big one — is our insistence that God become a business partner. That divine guidance present as something practical, efficient, and financially useful. Guidance works from within us as well as around us, to be sure. Heaven does express itself through events such as locked and open doors. But these external events are not ends in and of themselves; they are here to serve our internal spiritual life. Heaven does not solve our problems for us; it inspires us with resolutions, ways to initiate action in the world, for the purpose of furthering our soul’s journey. The Divine cannot make choices for us, but it can — and does — set up blockades for our own protection. Every movement in your life has purpose. It does not matter that we do not see the purpose in the moment or the plan or the timing of when and how the next step will unfold. Well, it matters to us, of course, in practical ways, but if you could let go of the practical and trust the miraculous, the hidden ways of the Divine at work behind the scenes in your life, you would realize that nothing is ever as it seems.

— Caroline Myss, Intimate Conversations with the Divine, p. 119

Photo: Bluebell Trail, Bull Run Regional Park, Virginia, April 17, 2014

Direction Comes with Joy.

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

Joy is one of the ways the Lord confirms His Word to us. He may tell us to do something difficult, but because His direction comes with joy, we believe Him and are motivated to obey. If we forget the joy He gave, we’ll lose the power to carry out His commands.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 160

Photo: Keukenhof, Holland, April 1999

The Path of Wisdom

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

The aim of wisdom literature is to uncover something true about the nature of reality in a way that makes the reader or listener wiser. In the Bible, wisdom is rarely presented as a single decision, belief, or rule, but rather as a “way” or “path” that the sojourner must continually discern amid the twists and turns of life.

I had a college professor who assigned the book of Proverbs to his Psychology 101 class, instructing us to circle in our Bibles every appearance of the word way or path. The point, he said, is that wisdom isn’t about sticking to a set of rules or hitting some imaginary bull’s-eye representing “God’s will.” Wisdom is a way of life, a journey of humility and faithfulness we take together, one step at a time.

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 96-97

Photo: Burg Lahneck, Germany, August 22, 2004

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.