by Christine Sine
As I sit and look back over the last few weeks and all that I have learned from this time of discernment, I am more aware than ever that discernment is a way of life, not something that I do now and then put on the shelf for the next couple of years. Part of what I have been doing over this last week is bringing my thoughts together so that I can clearly see the next steps that I need to take.
What Have I Learned?
This time of discernment has had some wonderful outcomes.
- It has deepened my faith in who God is and opened up new levels of intimacy in my relationship with my divine companion.
- It has increased my confidence in who I am and who God has called me to be.
- It has stirred my creativity to consider new ways to express my love both for God and for neighbour.
- It has enriched my life journey and encouraged me to notice with wonder and awe things that in the past have seemed dull and lifeless.
- It has encourage me to take one step at a time, being patient for God as God leads me one step at a time.
This process has also led me back to a framework for ongoing discernment that I wrote several years ago with questions and practices that you might like to consider too.
What Is The Unique Gift You Bring To the World?
I believe my unique gift is The Gift of Wonder and through it, I give people a pathway through which to enjoy God. I talked about this last week in my post, Providential Encounters. Re-affirming this through my own reflections and the comments of friends was both encouraging and energizing as its helped me realize that this really is where my passion lies. This kind of revisiting of what God calls us to do is so healthy especially in a disruptive time like this. God doesn’t always say keep moving in the same direction. Sometimes there is a definite nudge to change.
So what is the unique gift that you feel you bring to the world?
However, having established this foundation, I realize I need to take some new steps.
How Do You Nourish This Gift?
This is probably the most important question for any of us to ask once we have discerned our gifts. It is not good to feel you have a gift without doing the hard work to nourish and strengthen it.
To continue effectively sharing the gift of wonder with others I must:
- Be self-aware and tend to my self-care. For me, this requires a balance of physical, spiritual and emotional care. My contemplative times in the morning, my awe and wonder walks, and regular physical exercise are all elements that contribute to my self-care.
- Name the tensions. What destroys my sense of wonder and how do I adjust? When I am distracted, what do I have trouble naming and how does this lack of self-awareness make me vulnerable? I have found that these are very important questions for me to ask myself and I have added them to my Sunday review of my week.
- Follow the stirrings. Be attentive to what your life says, maintain your freedom, enjoy God – only a few words but so much expressed in them. My attentiveness to my life can come through books that I read, people I speak to, imaginings that stir in my mind. It’s an exciting process but I sometimes think it isn’t one for the faint hearted. This discernment really is a way of life and we need to take it seriously every step of the way, painting the flexibility and resilience that it demands of us.
As a result of this process, I have decided to hold a new seminar on wonder – one specifically geared towards healing during this challenging time. I did it for Inhabit and for Word Made Flesh, but must confess I did not really take it seriously until this week.
Wonder in the Healing Process Webinar – September 16, 2020 at 3pm PDT. I hope that you can join me.
How do you feel you can nourish God’s gift within you?
Wonder in the Trauma Healing Process
A number of people have told me that The Gift of Wonder, and the online retreat that came out of it, have increased their joy and brought healing and wholeness to them during this challenging time. As a result, we have decided to hold a free webinar on Wonder In the Trauma Healing Process. For those that have not read the book, this would be a good introduction. To those that have, I think it will provide new dimensions for their own life.
Alice Walker, author of The Colour Purple says, “I think the foundation of everything is wonder.” She has grasped a reality few of us acknowledge in which the wonder of God’s presence in us, and around us is present at every moment and in the midst of every pain and joy. We underestimate the power of awe and wonder to transform and heal us. In this session, we will explore three dimensions of awe and wonder – the wonder of God hidden in every aspect of creation; the wonder of God hidden deep within our souls and the wonder of a God whose nature is laid bare in the pain of our world. We will discuss the impact various expressions of these, like awe and wonder walks, laughter, play and lament, have in bringing renewal and transformation and see how they draw us closer to God and can be used to help us heal the traumas of our lives.
Wonder is an attitude of life and we need to nourish it and expand it into every part of our life. I hope you can join us and look forward to helping you continue your journey of discernment too.