On the Choosing of Identities

So, I had a little bit of a revelation this week concerning you, dear reader. 

I was looking back over the language written on the sign-up page for the Cup of Sunday Quiet and being reminded that it says this weekly letter series is a space where "I share a bit of my heart and give you the chance to share back with me a bit of your own" — that it's a space where we can bring our tumblers full of our favorite beverage to a quiet corner and check in with our soul's journey at the moment. 

Now, normally I frame each letter around the deeper questions my spiritual life is presenting to me that week, and then I pose a related question at the end of the letter to you. 

But what if where I am is not where you are? What if your heart is in a completely different place than the place I wrote from? What if you are learning something wholly other? 

And so what I want to say is this: I want this Sunday letter series to be a place where you're invited to share back with me what's actually happening in your life at the moment. I want it to be a place where you are invited to share the questions your own spiritual life is posing to you at the moment, even if it has nothing to do with what I wrote. 

I guess I just want to reiterate that I would love for this weekly conversation we share to feel like a real conversation — a place where you experience someone inviting you into a deeper conversation about life and spirit and where that person then turns to you and asks, in complete welcome and sincerity, "So, how about you?"

That is my heart toward you.

As for what's been happening in my world this week, I had a bit of a breakthrough in a session with my spiritual director concerning the fear I've been facing about God's invitation for me to step more fully into my vocation as a spiritual formation practitioner.

When I came into my session with Elaine on Tuesday, I first told her about the paralyzing fear — the same fear I've been telling you about these last few weeks. 

But then I said, "And yet this is a great gift. For so long, I've been waiting and preparing and praying for the day when God would say, 'It's time. Step forward.' But because it didn't happen in the way I always thought it would, all I've been aware of is the fear." 

I told her that I've not taken much time at all to dwell inside the wonder and joy of this great gift and answer to prayer. God is inviting me to work full-time inside the vocation for which he made me? This is a miraculous moment for me! What would it be like for me to experience the joy of that? 

So I asked if we could spend some time sitting inside the beauty of what's happening, the true gift of this answered prayer. 

I told you last week that two images keep showing up when I turn my mind toward Christ in prayer. The first is the image of us sitting on a cliff's edge together, our legs dangling over the edge, my face turned toward his gentle, smiling, knowing face. The second is that image of us walking together on water, hands held between us, heading north. 

As I entered into Elaine's invitation to sit with those two images for a while, I noticed that the fear kept invading them. All the worries popped up over the water: What if it doesn't work? What if it fails? What if it doesn't provide the income we need? What if I mess it up somehow? What if I miss something? 

That's when the breakthrough moment happened.

I opened my eyes and said, "Whoa. I think this is an identity issue." 

You see, all those questions ... they're so familiar. They're the kind of questions I spent my whole growing-up life asking. They're survival questions. They're self-sufficiency questions. They're questions that betray my serious sense of over-responsibility for outcomes and making all things right. 

And yet Jesus, in inviting me to sit with him in the sunlight of that cliff's edge moment and to walk, hand in hand, with him upon the water, is inviting me deeper into my true identity — one that is not responsible for everything but instead trusts in his good heart toward me and his provision for our life. 

Which identity will I choose? 

I don't want to return to the identity of fear and over-responsibility and constant contingency plans. I worked for many years, hand in hand with Jesus already, to step away from such an identity. I have seen him demonstrate, over and over, his goodness and attentiveness and trustworthiness. 

Will I trust him yet again in this place? 

I love that my session with Elaine this week gave me space and a chance to say yes. 

What about you, dear reader? What's happening in your world right now? What questions are you asking? How are you responding? I would so love to hear about it.             


Much love,