So there I was,
standing at the Jesus Gap —
the place between information
and a desire to live out holy love —
Not to serve in an exterior way…
you know at the Food Bank, the church, the school —
those places where people see good deeds done,
but more so, to live out holy love
in the nuances of
standard day to day existence
of children arguing, mundane tv evenings,
and everyday interruption when it’s me and
my three feet of influence.
Why did I long to live out this holy love with such fervor?
Because I knew down to my core that
Jesus isn’t a history lesson
(some guy from long ago who I need to prove existed). And,
Jesus isn’t the instructor of an AP Life Class
(some scholar who teaches us right from wrong). And,
Jesus isn’t a feel good lover
(some pushover who gives and gives without desire for relationship). And,
Jesus isn’t a box to check (some obligation I need to visit weekly).
Rather, I knew in my bones,
Jesus is the living God-breeze who asks us to follow Him
into a new way of being in the world.
A better way of seeing.
A greater abundance of giving.
And this invitation is present as soon as my eyes open in the morning.
This Jesus Gap,
this burning desire led me
to deeper questions, to curiosity and
(after conversations, guidance and waiting)
I found my way to
classes in Spiritual Formation.
Spiritual: relating to sacred matters
Formation: the act of giving form or shape to something
Spiritual Formation: the act of giving form to the sacred in our lives
While there was plenty of reading
taking place during the immersion into Spiritual Formation,
it was the contemplation (i.e. reflection)
paired with action that began to shift things for me.
*ENTER JESUS FLOW*
*SPARK BREATH WORK*
Breathe in (Yah), Breathe out (Weh)
the very sound of breath
reminds me of God at my core.
Learning to breathe deep when anxious
Learning to breathe deep when angry
Learning to breathe deep before sleep
Learning to notice breath
Getting in touch with the senses
I have all through my body.
Slowing down to taste the food I chew,
Intentionally using touch as love,
Lingering with smell as a tool of healing,
Stretching my body, feeling the movement,
Walking slow, noticing nature
*SPARK LECTIO DIVINA*
Approaching the Bible for formation not information
Reading a short passage slowly
Lingering with a word or phrase
Prayerfully considering how this
word/phrase applies to my life
Recognizing how this prayer stays with me as the week unfolds
Dwelling long and hard on the Prodigal Son,
placing myself in each character’s position
(young son, elder son, Father),
Writing and writing and writing,
Recognizing my shortcomings in difficult relationships,
Opening my hands to receive God’s forgiveness
Looking a loved one in the eye and saying “I’m sorry”
Claiming the verse,
“You are always with me and everything I have is yours” (Luke 15:31)
as truth for my life
Writing and art become a form of prayer,
Allowing myself the time and space to color and create
despite the critic who lives in my head,
Bringing prayerful intention to the art I make,
Blessing the canvas, making layers,
engaging the moment
I could go on.
You see, our whole life is actually an opportunity for spiritual practice.
To be formed and healed by the encounters that come our way,
instead of remaining victims to our circumstance.
But, here’s the thing:
this formative work, this formation work,
it’s ours to do. Yours and mine.
In order for the Jesus Flow to move,
we must say yes to practice.
No-one else can do it for you.
It’s up to you.
The practice to slow down and
notice, reflect, write, create, dance, forgive,
takes courage because it goes under the surface of life.
It gets to the heart of matters around some stuff you and I would rather ignore.
It requires carving out intentional space.
It needs quiet. No TV. No music. No activity.
Some may see this work as indulgent, selfish even
but, I assure you, it’s anything but.
My pastor once pointed out:
In case of emergency, the airlines always tell you
to put your own mask on before you help the person beside you.
Yes, this formation work is oxygen for the soul.
And, something happens as it transforms within you.
As you breathe out, toward the world,
your breath turns to the love needed for all living things.
There are many things you can’t change:
You can’t change people.
You can’t change the big picture of politics.
You can’t change the way large companies operate.
You can’t change financial power structures.
You can’t change embedded cultures.
You can’t change the way the church runs.
But, you can take time for the forming of your spirit.
And, when you do, you’ll begin to know yourself at a different level.
You’ll find the Jesus spirit within waiting to love on you.
Especially in all those places you feel you fall short.
You’ll find more compassion for yourself.
Old wounds will be healed.
You’ll discover this new compassion will flow toward others.
once we begin the contemplative life,
action naturally follows.
It becomes an invitation to relationship.
To hear the stories of others and
see yourself in their tale.
Before long, you
imagine this safe space
you’ve found overflowing
into work, your home, your church, where
instead of pointing the finger of blame
you take responsibility for your piece,
you invite healing into the space,
you open your heart honestly,
you invite the right brain to have a place at the table
to write, to draw, to form relationship,
This imagined space is possible
to realize. But.
You and I.
We have to begin
to say yes to
the Jesus Flow.
Planning to share some Formational Resources with you on Friday.