Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. (All for the greater glory of God) ~ Ignatius of Loyola
As you attempt to bring the two simple exercises (see chapter 6 and chapter 7) into your life, remember to give yourself much grace as you practice them. Being still while holding your thoughts at bay can be a chore, especially for those of us who are active doers. And in our culture, who isn’t?
You see, our society just doesn’t allow for the luxury of silence, solitude, and a place of quiet reflection. While some may talk of its value, few find the time to practice what they preach. The earliest followers of Jesus called these exercises we introduced to you, “disciplines.”
Yet, for those of us who don’t want to make our journey with Jesus into a work of sin management and hard labor focused on rule keeping, might we suggest that you give yourself much grace as you respond to Jesus’ invitation to follow Him where He leads. My wife, Sandy, loves to use a favorite expression she learned when she was a music teacher as we teach these “disciplines” to others. You might want to write this down…
Practice doesn’t make perfect…it makes permanent!
You see, A Journey Into Good is not a trek into trying to become a perfect person, a worker of good everyplace we go. As we understand it, Jesus of Nazareth is the only true doer of Good, and our job is not to replace His perfection with ours, but simply walk consistently on the road to “goodness” with Him. After 60+ years of journeying with Jesus, Sandy and I have not arrived at perfection, but we have found more of a permanence to our passion to follow Him wherever He goes.
So, what’s next as you continue on A Journey Into Good?
It’s been our experience that the next important stepping stone in all this is to align yourself with at least one other person who is on the same journey you are. If you were attempting, for example, to retrain yourself in your eating habits, you would most likely find a person or persons who are eating the same diet you are working on. If your goal is to get more exercise in your life, you’d most likely join a gym or health club where you can surround yourself with others who are trying to accomplish the same thing.
Quite honestly, it’s the same with journeying with Jesus.
After 30-plus years of pastoring, we’re convinced that one of the very best ways for people to grow in their faith is to align themselves with a spiritual companion who will accompany them as they walk through life. In spiritual companionship, you and your friend in Christ come together for the primary purpose of engaging in meaningful spiritual conversations, focusing on the presence and activity of God in your life. In a word, spiritual companionship is co-discernment, with your friend holding space open for you, discerning together to see what Jesus is doing, not just in that moment, but over the months and seasons of your life. One author defines spiritual companionship as a wonderful way to “dust for the fingerprints of God.”
Sandy & I have been training Christ-centered spiritual companions (directors) for several years now and we are thrilled to offer you our growing network of compassionate women and men who can come alongside you, holding space for you, as you continue your exciting Journey Into Good.
For a complete listing of spiritual companions (directors) waiting to come alongside you, click here.
If you don’t feel you’re ready for that big of a stepping stone, then might we suggest you simply peruse our website, beginning here on the subject of simply caring for your soul.
Thank you for taking the time to journey through our little essay. Our hope (and prayer) is that you have heard Jesus’ personal invitation to you to draw closer to Him through the simple stepping stones we’ve shared with you here. We do hope you will contact us, or one of our spiritual companions, and chat with us more about all you are experiencing as you venture on in Your Journey Into Good.
Keep going, and may the Good Lord bless and keep you!
Marty & Sandy Boller
Click here to go back to our introduction & index to A Journey Into Good.