I am seeking...
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If you want God, and long for union with him, yet sometimes wonder what that means or whether it can mean anything at all, you are already walking with the God who comes. If you are at times so weary and involved with the struggle of living that you have no strength even to want [God], yet are still dissatisfied that you don't, you are already keeping Advent in your life. If you have ever had an obscure intuition that the truth of things is somehow better, greater, more wonderful than you deserve or desire, that the touch of God in your life stills you by its gentleness, that there is a mercy beyond anything you could ever suspect, you are already drawn into the central mystery of salvation.
- From The Coming of God by Maria Boulding
My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though
I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
- Thomas Merton
Matthew 11:28-30 The Message
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
“Dear Child of God, you are loved with a love that nothing can shake, a love that loved you long before you were created, a love that will be there long after everything has disappeared. You are precious, with a preciousness that is totally quite immeasurable. And God wants you to be like God. Filled with life and goodness and laughter—and joy.
“God, who is forever pouring out God’s whole being from all eternity, wants you to flourish. God wants you to be filled with joy and excitement and ever longing to be able to find what is so beautiful in God’s creation: the compassion of so many, the caring, the sharing. And God says, Please, my child, help me. Help me to spread love and laughter and joy and compassion. And you know what, my child? As you do this—hey, presto—you discover joy. Joy, which you had not sought, comes as the gift, as almost the reward for this non-self-regarding caring for others.”
ENGAGE IN THE LONG FAITHFUL WORK
~ Morgan Harper Nichols
Engage in the long, faithful work.
Surrender the need of striving
to be the best or always right
and focus instead on leaning into Light,
that reveals all things.
All that is good and all that stands to be corrected, and redirected.
And as you lean into Light,
be gentle with the word “darkness.”
For more than it merely means wrong or bad,
it is also the color of a full, starless night sky,
and actual bodies of human beings
who have been overlooked too many times.
Many, many words hold more than one meaning.
Language on “light” and “dark” may have its place,
and this is also true, this very language has been used to say,
“You are a threat. I am not. I am worth more than you.”
It takes kindness to understand this, for
even though kindness is a beautiful word.
it does not mean that nothing gets disrupted.
Sometimes a way of thinking must be interrupted
in order for kindness to truly thrive.
For as sure as kindness leans into what is good,
it also speaks about what isn’t right.
It is compassionate and gentle
when long histories are pulled from mourning into morning.
Engage in the long, faithful work of awakening
with your heart and mind open to the possibility
that things are more complex than they once seemed.
And as hard as it is to hold all of this,
you are still free to dream:
you do not have to be who you used to be.
You do not have to think the way you used to think.
You are free to take hopeful,
thoughtful action in pursuit of better things.
So here’s to new beginnings,
knowing it is impossible to ignore the long history,
opening up to the mystery
that grace still finds you here.
And grace is unmerited favor
but it might not always look the way you want it to.
It will invite you out in the open
and it will also reveal what has been broken.
You might have to unlearn the way you thought things would be.
You might find that being undone
is the best way to move on, humbly, mindfully, wholly.
For how liberating it is
to pursue wholeness over perfection,
finding that grace is more than a beautiful word,
but a daily act of being undone, an awakening, a direction."
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We would like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet, it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability -
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually - let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time,
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming in you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
Great places to start
The Gift of Being Yourself by David G. Benner
Boundaries for Your Soul: How to Turn Your Overwhelming Thoughts and Feelings into Your Greatest Allies by Alison Cook and Kimberly Miller
The Wisdom of Tenderness by Brennan Manning
Podcast: "The Bible for Normal People" with Jared Byas and Pete Enns
The Enneagram for Spiritual Formation by AJ Sherrill
Spiritual Rhythms for the Enneagram: A Handbook for Harmony and Transformation by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Doug Calhoun, Clare Loughrige, Scott Loughrige
Mirror for the Soul: A Christian Guide to the Enneagram by Alice Fryling
The Road Back to You by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile
The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective by Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert
Podcast: "The Enneagram Journey" with Suzanne Stabile
Sacred Rhythms by Ruth Haley Barton
Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland
The Deeper Journey by M. Robert Mulholland
The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas
Intimate with the Ultimate by Gerard and Chrissie Kelly
The Cup of Our Life by Joyce Rupp
Coming to God in the Stillness by Jim Borst
Jesus Calling by Sarah Young