Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Turning Outward

Mark and I were edified this week by participating in an FGC Couples Enrichment weekend. Couples were encouraged to identify and define a goal for the next year for their relationship. Our goal is spiritual in nature. Our main obstacle is our own tendencies toward procrastination so we decided to try to do a weekly worship—like a meeting for worship for the conduct of business for us as a couple—in which we hope to listen to any leadings God may have for us, set our intentions for the week, and create structure for ourselves in order to help us meet our goal. Scheduling our time somewhat will allow us to pursue things we feel are important--worship sharing, reading, studying, writing--but that we’ve not been attentive to recently because of more frivolous distractions. We trust that seeking God’s guidance will allow the myriad facets of our lives to take their rightful places.

As Mark and I sat together discussing our vision, I was given a clear message that we are to stop being so self-indulgent and prepare ourselves to take responsibility for what we have been given. Our goal is spiritual, learning to live together in Christ, but it seems that realizing this goal is grounded in the physical reality of The Burrow and so we are to apply ourselves to readying our home to offer hospitality. I think, perhaps in a feng shui-y kind of way, the boxes of books and dusty bookshelves are symbols of inattention. Making The Burrow comfortable and interesting for guests and for our family is the beginning of a larger calling, I think.

I do not in any way believe in a “name it and claim it” kind of theology. I don’t believe that God wants us to prosper in material wealth but in Truth. When I say that all I identified as wanting to bring into my life—and more—has been given me, it has. But I believe it has because stating my desires was done while seeking God’s will for me: listening, praying, waiting and discerning. When I wrote the blog in December 2010 about what I wanted to create in my life, it was informed by years of prayer and learning, conversations with centered and trusted Friends and even a Clearness Committee. After I wrote it, I lost my marriage, my job and my home and, against reason and my own impulses, was clearly instructed by God to… wait. Waiting is hard, especially when one hasn’t a clue why one is to wait. But the message to me was clear and so I waited. It wasn’t easy; at times I felt fear, anxiety, frustration, even despair, but I trusted God to have a plan and waited.

And then Mark entered my life bringing love and great joy! Our love brought this home and the amazing miracle of all my intentions into existence. I’ve spent the past two months awed at how good God has been to me, grateful every moment for Mark and the wonder and beauty of the life we’re creating together. But especially grateful to have been given the lesson of listening and waiting, the gift of faith.

The last two months with Mark have been a honeymoon, learning the day-to-dayness of how to live together, share, work side-by-side, balance needs, and rely on one another. We’ve had a marvelous time playing, laughing, and loving together. I wouldn’t say we’ve been irresponsible; what I would say, though, is that we’ve spent a lot more energy between us than directed outward. "To everything turn, turn, turn…" It wasn’t inappropriate for us to do that for a time. When we talked about our goal for the year, however, I had the clear message that it is time for us to use our energy to begin to actively bring the gifts we’ve been given to fruition. It is time to act.

I’ve no idea where this is going to lead, no clue what the outcome will be. God’s guidance is like that of a GPS—you only get the next little bit of the map, the part you need right now to act. Mark and I are learning to pray, wait, listen and discern together. When I said that I felt God clearly telling me that we are to begin turning our energies outward, he responded by saying the leading sounds true to him. I feel blessed beyond words to have this kind, passionate, hilariously funny man who is also my true spiritual helpmeet.

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