A Story About Discernment: Like a Child

July 13th, 2011

Four and a half year old Lainey stood in the front yard waving goodbye to her friends who had come over to play. From our laundry room window, I watched as she continued to wave, even bending down to make sure the trees weren’t blocking their view of her as the car disappeared down the road. Then I saw her drop her head in sadness and walk toward our tree-lined driveway. She vanished from my sight as she headed around our garage and made her way to our backdoor. I expected to see a sad face when she came in but instead there was a smile. She ran and busied herself with something else and a little later as I was passing by with a basket of laundry she nonchalantly said, “Mom, God talked to me under the trees.” “Well, what did He say to you?” I asked in response. "He said, 'It’s okay when your friends leave.'”

A smile broke out on my face as I said, “Oh, that’s why you were smiling when you came in. I wondered because I knew you were sad your friends had to go home.” I loved that Lainey listened to and was able to be comforted by God. A smile broke out in my heart when I considered how God cared for my little girl, actually His little girl. And I was reminded of how He longs to always be our Comforter, no matter the age of his kids or the situations that make us sad.

As we grow, we tend to become deaf to the voice which “talks to us under the trees.” Yet our desire to be comforted remains just as strong, especially when friends leave. It's hard to become like little children and learn to listen again.

Have you heard yourself say or have you been thinking: I am so busy. Is it even possible to slow down? It's hard to see how church on Sunday intersects with the rest of my week and life. My spiritual life has hit a plateau. Is there more? It seems that God is silent in my life. How can I discern God's voice and will? What does God want from me? I really want to experience more of God's presence. I want a closer relationship with Jesus Christ. I don't think I know how to pray. I wonder if I am praying "right." Does God care about what's going on in my life? I've found the Bible to be bland and boring for the past few years. Does God still speak?

While every spiritual director and spiritual direction relationship is different, there are some commonalities. People generally meet with a spiritual director for one hour once a month. Whether held in a church, home, or office, the atmosphere is quiet, safe, and inviting. A candle may be lit and a cup of tea offered. People may choose beforehand what to discuss or allow the spiritual director to help guide them into a time of attentiveness to God. The time together may include silence, meditative Scripture reading, conversation, guided prayer, etc.

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