Is this Spiritual Direction?

I found this quote which led me to wonder, “Is the Lutheran Ladies blog actually a form of spiritual direction?”  In sharing our experiences, insights, reading and more are we becoming to spiritual directors to our readers and to one another? I certainly think sharing my feelings in my posts has led me to confront my own sin, and the frequent lack of purity in my motives.  It makes me think and read deeply about each month’s theme. Hopefully,  this means it has led to some changes as well.  I would love to hear what others (authors and followers) have to say on this subject.

“When we speak with others about our experience in Christ, it sharpens our attentiveness to the voice and will of the Father. Sharing our stories helps us clarify the intentions of our hearts toward the fulfillment of his divine will. A small circle of friends also reminds us of the presence, power and protection of the Holy Spirit. Confiding in one another instills a sense of hope for the future as children who are dearly loved by their Father.”
Stephen A. Macchia, Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way

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When God Says Stop

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10

As I write this,  I’m sitting here watching it snow for the second day in a row.  There will be no Lenten Service tonight;  I can’t go to the grocery store or the library;  I can’t visit a friend. I’ve finished all my usual household chores.  I’m stuck at home and there’s not a thing I can do about it.

Have you ever noticed how sometimes God, through our circumstances, just makes us stop?  It may come in the form of weather, but it may also be an injury or illness.  It may be that, as my friend Rob says, “all the wheels fall off the cart.”  Things happen that are out of our control, and we can’t keep going in our usual direction. We get a big dose of humility.  We have to stop.

Times like this are good opportunities to be still and listen.  Maybe we’re trying too hard.  Maybe God has another plan.  Maybe He just wants us to make time for Him– for prayer, for meditation, to give thanks, to consider our blessings.  It’s a time to remember that we’re not really in control, even when we’re racing around acting like we are.

Sometimes we just need to stop.  I guess I should consider doing that on my own, instead of waiting for God to do it for me.  What about you?  Do you need to stop for a day, an hour or even ten minutes and listen to God?

Loving by Listening

The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists of listening to them. Just as love of God begins with listening to his word, so the beginning of love for our brothers and sisters is learning to listen to them. —Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Stewardship of Our Roles #2

As I was looking for a filler to finish off our church newsletter this morning (yes, I am the editor), I came across this poem I wrote years and years ago.  I thought I’d share it as it speaks to our many roles in life and how to handle them.

A Modern Day Psalm

Dear Lord,

Does life really have to be this hard?

I just want to be myself for a change instead of someone else’s

Wife or

Mother or

Daughter or

Employee or

Boss or

Whatever it is I spend most of my time being.

Sometimes my relationships seem to be strangling me instead of fulfilling me …

I want to be free

I want to please myself.

The trouble is I’m not really sure who I am or what pleases me

I’m to accustomed to being all of those other people instead.

Maybe I can find myself and You, too, if I really pray.

Maybe there’s a place for me in Your plan.  Me the wife, and mother and daughter and sister and all the other Mes.

Maybe You’ll tell me if I listen.

 

Bonhoeffer on Learning to Listen

listenLearning to listen is an important part of all relationships; every Christian should listen to others and to God.

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Photo Credit: B Rosen via Compfight cc (https://www.flickr.com/photos/82763263@N00/4255321476/)

The following quote is from the German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his essay, Life Together.

“The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that He not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear.

So it is His work that we do for our brother when we learn to listen to him. Christians, especially ministers, so often think they must always contribute something when they are in the company of others, that this is the one service they have to render. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking.

Many people are looking for an ear that…

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Be Still

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Yesterday I got out a DVD I’ve had for a long time called “Be Still.”  It’s about contemplative prayer and features some well-known Christian authors like Beth Moore, Max Lucado, Richard Foster and Dallas Willard.  A major point in the discussion was that even when we pray we often don’t listen to God because we’re so busy talking to Him. We’ll never know God’s will for our lives if we don’t allow some space for silence, waiting and listening for His voice.

Of course the society we live in doesn’t exactly encourage quietness and rest.  “Multi-tasking” seems to be regarded as a virtue (what happened to focus or concentration on an important job?).  We live with what the DVD called “weapons of mass distraction”–smart phones, computers, ipods, net flicks.  We often don’t pay attention to one another or our surroundings, much less God.  We’re too consumed with our technology, our ability to get the answer we want, or the contact we need instantly.

I’m no better than anyone else at this.  I’m not as technologically connected as some, but I grew up in a family where working hard was expected and the biggest sin was being “lazy” (in other words, doing nothing).  I tend to fill up my days with one chore after another.  Prayer becomes just one of those chores to rush through on my way to the next thing on my list. Keeping my mind from racing is even harder than stopping my body.  I can be quiet, but I can’t be still.

God, however, invites us to rest in His presence, to be attentive to His voice.  How do you do this, ladies and readers?  I want to hear your suggestions.

 

Listening to God before We Speak for Him

I think this is a great point. We need to listen in prayer before we speak.

The Road

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This is from the Life is Worship blog:

“Holy men of soberer and quieter times than ours knew well the power of silence. David said, I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me; while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue. There is a tip here for God’s modern prophets. The heart seldom gets hot while the mouth is open. A closed mouth before God and a silent heart are indispensable for the reception of certain kinds of truth. No man is qualified to speak who has not first listened. It might well be a wonderful revelation to some Christians if they were to get completely quiet for a short time, long enough, let us say, to get acquainted with their own souls, and to listen in the silence for…

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