IN CARING FOR OTHERS we use up a great deal of physical and mental energy. If we do not replenish these limited resources, we run the risk of compassion fatigue. We cannot fulfill our God-given callings to be compassionate human beings in bodies that are constantly neglected and overextended. How we feed, exercise, relax, listen to, and nourish our bodies are matters relevant to faithful discipleship. As Francis of Assisi lay dying, someone asked if he would have changed anything in his ministry. Significantly he responded, “I would have been more kind to my body.”
- Trevor Hudson
MOST PEOPLE HAVE a vivid imagination but think they don’t. To prove you have a vivid imagination, answer this question: Can you worry? If so, you have an imagination because you’ve asked yourself, “What if?” many times and come up with vivid answers. …
Perhaps you don’t want to use your imagination because you’re afraid it might get you into trouble. You’ve imagined yourself telling your boss what you really think! In that case, your imagination is still a gift from God, but it needs to be retrained to imagine God-stuff.
The imagination’s potential for misleading can be reconfigured by the mind of Christ, which Paul claims we possess (1 Cor. 2:16). Think of how Christ’s mind was filled with stories, images, and hopes drawn from God’s history with the people of God—you can see that “imagination can become a penetrating force.” The more you do meditations, the more skilled your imagination will become.
Your goal in meditation is simply to be with God in the experience, not to perfectly reconstruct the event or even to have an inspiring experience. … The guideline for all spiritual disciplines is this: Do them as you can, not as you can’t.
- Jan Johnson
SOMEONE ONCE TOLD ME that one of the greatest deterrents to spiritual growth is certainty. Being sure about too many things makes us rigid and unteachable, when we need to be pliable and open to the Spirit’s ongoing revelations. …
Most of us derive a sense of security from the illusion that we know what the future will hold. Letting go of this illusion leaves a hollowed-out space into which the spirit can blow fresh air.
In my experience, God’s guidance usually evolves one step at a time. Rather than wait for God to lay out the entire agenda, we’re called to take the next step without attempting to control the outcome. We launch out in trust. If we insist on certainty, then why would we need faith? Authentic faith and trust involve the willingness to risk.
- Linda Douty
WE CAN TRUST GOD to form the words in us when we pray. We can trust God to give us the deep desires of the heart that are consistent with the divine will. Without language we can allow the Spirit to pray in us. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” (Rom. 8:26).
God knows our needs. In prayer our hearts join with every desire in God’s heart for us and for our world. In Centering Prayer this happens in silence without words. In other times of prayer we put words to our needs as the Spirit makes us aware of them.
- J. David Muyskens
THE PRESSURE IN our culture to secure our own future and to control our lives as much as possible does not find support in the Bible. Jesus knows our need for security. He is concerned that because security is such a deep human need, we do not misplace our trust in things or people that cannot offer us real security. “Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moth and woodworm destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth nor woodworm destroys them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For wherever your treasure is, there will your heart be too” (Matt. 6:19-21, NJB).
We cannot find security if our heart is divided. So Jesus says something very radical: “No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money” (Luke 16:13, NJB). What is our security base? God or mammon? That is what Jesus would ask. He says that we cannot put our security in God and also in money. We have to make a choice.
Jesus counsels: “Put your security in God.” We have to make a choice whether we want to belong to the world or to God. Our trust, our basic trust, Jesus teaches, has to be in God. As long as our real trust is in money, we cannot be true members of the kingdom.
- Henri J.M. Nouwen with John S. Mogabgab, Series Editor
SIN, THE SLUG in the soul, the ocean of darkness, the attempt at self-sufficiency, the artful thousand-headed dispersion of ourselves that would maneuver us to escape ever being willing to enter that single chamber, is deeply imbedded within us. Perhaps that is enough to say.
But in the chamber of prayer where we become aware of the piercing love of God, in the light of his love, we are brought with an unflinching clarity to see that “I have a closed room” and “I have a hidden key.”
To come near to a God of revealing love is to change.
- Douglas V. Steere
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS.” This is the eternal source of our daily life of prayer. This is no technique. We are in deep waters of the most intimate of all possible relationships that flow to us – forever fresh and new – from minute to minute. And, as with all that lives, our relationship with the ultimate Person is organic, open-ended, unexpected, asymmetrical, and unfolding.
- Flora Slosson Wuellner