FURTHER THOUGHTS ON DISCERNING INVITATIONS
As most of you know, Kirk is not on Facebook at this point. But as we've been going through this 6-week process with the Traveler's Pack and are continuing to work toward the next steps we'll be taking with Still Forming beyond Lent, he's pulled together some further thoughts for us on the concept of invitation that he's asked me to post on his behalf. Consider this a foretaste of things to come.
So, here's Kirk!
Greetings, Still Forming community.
Thank you for joining us as we journey through Lent with the Traveler’s Pack via the lens of spiritual invitation. The Traveler’s Pack is but one resource of many that are available to provide some process and structure to explore invitations God may have for you during given seasons of your life.
During the season of Lent, God’s general invitation to us is found in the book of Joel:
Yet even now, says the Lord,
return to me with all your heart.
It seems that only a God whose nature is one of deep and abiding love would extend such an invitation. Otherwise, “all your heart” wouldn’t be included in the offer. Accordingly, God works through invitations because God allows us the dignity of our own decisions and respects our part in the process.
I take great comfort in knowing that I’m not left to my own devices when making significant life choices. I’ve learned that the all-encompassing love of God knows the precise and personal invitations I need for me to move toward life and wholeness — to return to God with all my heart.
Since I rarely question God and God’s goodness toward me, the question is more one of discernment. Various invitations are offered to us on a daily basis, and it’s important to discern their source. Otherwise, we can be deceived into believing we’re pursuing a true invitation of God, when in fact we’re really pursuing a false invitation we think is from God.
In the future, through the next steps we'll take with Still Forming beyond Lent, we’ll more fully explore what it means to ground ourselves in reliable processes to better discern God’s invitations in our lives. We’ll consider such questions as:
* How do we discern the primary source of an invitation?
* What can influence an invitation once you have it?
* How do you know what’s from God and what’s not from God?
* How do we see God's invitational nature showing up in the Scriptures?
* Does this invitation honor God, self, and others?
* Who can I discern an invitation with? Do I have any trusted and competent people in my life who are grounded in the spiritual journey and can process this with me?
* Do I have enough self-knowledge to be in touch with my false self? What unconscious agendas could be in operation around my perceived invitations?
Pursuing God’s invitations for our lives is full both of promise and pitfalls. That’s why we’re going to explore the nature of God’s invitations in our lives much more in depth in the coming year. For example, we’ll explore invitation through the following four themes:
1. Belovedness. One of God’s primary invitations is to come to know our belovedness in God. Without this, the spiritual journey falls short.
2. Brokenness. We’re all broken as part of the human condition. Our belovedness in God allows us to lovingly confront our own brokenness before God.
3. Belonging. We’re creatures of belonging. Even in our brokenness, we’ll explore how we can more fully belong to God, ourselves, and others.
4. Becoming. We are creatures-in-becoming. We’ll explore how God is always inviting us to become more of our true self, which is our greatest gift back to God, self, and others.
Thank you for being part of the Still Forming community. We pray and trust that God is deepening you in God’s love and purpose for your life.