This weekend, I began a new phase of entering into the work I want to do in the world. I and a dozen others completed the first module of the first year of our training to be spiritual directors. One of the exhilarating feelings I had over the weekend was that I am right where I’m supposed to be.
As I look back over the years of my work in and around the church and what I write about on my blog, I realize I’ve always done this kind of work. Spiritual formation and walking with others on their journeys have always been part of what I do. My Live Like It Matters Challenges are ways in which I encourage my readers to cultivate particular habits such as gratitude, kind acts toward others, rest, and play. This is part of spiritual formation.
By Whom and Into What
We are always being formed in one way or another. We are shaped by friends and family, culture, social media, traditions, advertising, church, and our choices of entertainment, among other influences. Philip Kenneson, author of Life on the Vine: Cultivating the Fruit of the Spirit says, “Hence, the question is never whether we and our neighbors are being shaped, but always by whom and into what we are being shaped.”
The simplest definition of Christian spiritual formation is the process of inner transformation into who God created us to be: loved and whole. It involves the work of the Holy Spirit and our response to him. And while spiritual practices such as prayer, Scripture reading, and meditation are useful, “what is essential is life with Jesus, interactive relationship with the great God of the universe, inner transformation into Christlikeness,” writes Richard Foster in an article for Renovare.
The practices help us cultivate greater awareness of God in our everyday, ordinary lives. They give us insight into ourselves, help us learn to hear God’s voice, and help us know God better. But what’s essential is life with Jesus.
Over the next few posts, I’ll share more about spiritual formation and the work of a spiritual director.
We Are The Clay
This is the message that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Jeremiah, go down to the potter’s house. I will give you my message there.”
3 So I went down to the potter’s house and saw him working with clay at the wheel. 4 He was making a pot from clay. But there was something wrong with the pot. So the potter used that clay to make another pot. With his hands he shaped the pot the way he wanted it to be. Jeremiah 18 ERV
Photo by Monstera Production: https://www.pexels.com/photo/crop-potter-with-clay-in-hands-5302906/