More Labyrinth than Maze

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

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

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

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


Most of us live with a continual sense of emergency. We have a fear that we are too late and not enough to wrestle a happy destiny from the hands of the gods. What if there is no emergency? What if there is no need to wrestle? What if our only need is receptivity, a gentle openness to guidance? What if, like the Arabian horses grazing outside my window, we are able to simply trust?

When we trust ourselves, we become both more humble and more daring. When we trust ourselves we move more surely. There is no unnecessary strain in our grasp as we reach out to meet life. There is no snatching at people and events, trying to force them to give us what we think we want. We become what we are meant to be. It is that simple. We become what we are, and we do it by being who we are, not who we strive to be.

We are right-sized. We are who and what we are meant to be. All that we need, all that we require, is coming toward us. We need only meet life, not combat it. We need only encounter each day’s questions, not raise a fist at the heavens over the question of tomorrow.

“Just relax” is not advice that most of us respond to easily. We do better with a more active phrase: Focus on the now. In the precise now, no matter how painful our life events, we are always all right. What may be hard is always bearable — not perhaps in our projected future, but there, in that moment, precisely now.

— Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper, p. 112-113

Our Father’s Story

Do you see the difference between making an isolated prayer request and praying in context of the story that God is weaving? God answered our prayer for Kim to speak, but the answer was inseparable from repenting, serving, managing, and waiting. Most of our prayers are answered in the context of the larger story that God is weaving.

Living in our Father’s story means living in tension. (Will the book get written? How can Kim speak if she can’t do sentence structure?) After all, tension and overwhelming obstacles make for a good story! How boring life would be if prayer worked like magic. There’d be no relationship with God, no victory over little pockets of evil. . . .

Look for the Storyteller. Look for his hand, and then pray in light of what you are seeing. . . .

When the story isn’t going your way, ask yourself, What is God doing? Be on the lookout for strange gifts. God loves to surprise us with babies in swaddling clothes lying in mangers.

Sometimes when we say “God is silent,” what’s really going on is that he hasn’t told the story the way we wanted it told. He will be silent when we want him to fill in the blanks of the story we are creating. But with his own stories, the ones we live in, he is seldom silent.

— Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life, p. 201

A “Yes” in Disguise

In cozy retrospect, it is often very clear that the “no” that we received was actually a form of spiritual protection, not merely a deliberate and flippant thwarting of our will. When we receive a “no” from God, it is often actually a “yes” in disguise. Instead of focusing on what we cannot have, we need only turn our attention toward that good which God is moving forward in its stead.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 176


Without realizing it, we are operating out of an Enlightenment mind-set that denies the possibility of an infinite God speaking personally into our lives. That’s why I prefer the biblical term wisdom to our more common term guidance. Guidance means I’m driving the car and asking God which way to go. Wisdom is richer, more personal. I don’t just need help with my plans; I need help with my questions and even my own heart.

— Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life, p. 145

Being Who We Are

It is not what we do but how we do whatever we are doing that makes a difference. When we know ourselves we are able to make choices to do those things that, given our individual preferences and personalities, make it easier for us to be who we are — compassionate and openhearted and present. We are able to choose to do what we know we love.

— Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Dance, p. 140

Allowing Ourselves to be Blessed

Whatever the form God’s good takes, it is up to us to accept it, and to do so we must be openminded. The Psalms tell us, “Truly I direct my steps by all your precepts,” and we must do precisely that. When God shows an intention to expand us, we must be obedient to that intention. As God moves to expand us, we must allow ourselves to be expanded. As God brings us blessings, we must allow ourselves to be blessed. We must accept the goodness that God intends for us. We must not turn aside the generosity that God bears on our behalf. We are told by Deuteronomy 31:6, “It is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.”

What could be more clear? Despite our fears, God is no Indian giver. God is with us always and not less so when he is abundant to us. This is a promise, one of many promises that Scripture makes to us. We must be openminded enough to accept the promises Scripture offers us. We must be willing to receive the abundant goodness of God.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 156-157