How’s Your Intuition?

What Path Are You On?

What Path Are You On?

As discussed last Wednesday, I am an INFP soul type. This means that I really enjoy exploring the mystical side of Christianity. What do I mean by mystical? Just that God is mysterious and He does not always operate in quantifiable, verifiable fact. Often, He speaks to us and works in the world around us “in the spiritual realm” and thus, we may not always exactly understand what He’s up to and how He can communicate with us.

HeartPaths caters to the INFP crowd, no doubt. We readily embrace that God can speak to us through our inner voice, which we generally refer to as the Holy Spirit. And we believe that God is definitely interested in what we will do with our lives in the future. He has a plan and He would really like us to get “with the program” and be in tune with what He is doing.

Enter Visio Divina, a prayer practice that finds the spiritual meaning in graphic images, photos and pictures. The day we practiced Visio Divina our meeting room was filled with two sizable tables full of photographs of nature. Most were from calendars. I wondered how well I was going to adapt to this prayer style, since I don’t think I appreciate nature as I should.

The lack of appreciation is more about the fact that to appreciate nature, one often has to be in nature. And as I have alluded to here before, being in nature usually results in a lot of sneezing, blowing my nose, taking allergy meds and then turning to migraine meds when the allergy meds clear up the congestion a little too well! Thus, I don’t often get much time to focus on how God might be trying to talk to me through nature.

Thankfully, I’m not allergic to calendar pictures!

We were instructed to go around the tables and select a picture that “called to us.” I, being Ms. Thorough in such situations, looked at all the pictures on the table first. About 4 or 5 “called to me,” most of which had some path or steps in the picture. The one I liked most was selected by another person in my group and so I landed on a rather wild, but groomed black top path in a garden. The picture had some rather old stones in it and the plantings were quite obviously mature and had been there a long time.

As I returned to our circle of chairs, we were told to just study the picture and ask God to tell us why we were called to that photo. Since we had about 10 minutes of silence to thoroughly look at every nook and cranny of this picture, I began to notice things I wouldn’t have ordinarily appreciated. Here is what I wrote in my prayer journal that day:

“It immediately reminded me of a picture in my mind I had of the Shack‘s garden which the protagonist didn’t want weeded and beautiful growth pulled out to create a new, even more beautiful garden. The Holy Spirit pointed out to the protagonist that pulling out the dead/unproductive parts of his life…allow for even more beautiful parts to grow in their place.

I think the photo was saying, “I am creating a new creation in you, MaryAnn. You don’t want to surrender things that are precious to you, even though they are no longer useful. In clinging to old things, there is no room for me to replace them with even better things.”

The path was paved, but littered with natural debris and that reminded me that my life doesn’t have to be perfect to be a beautiful representation of God at work in my life. Also, while the picture was full of lush greenery, I was more drawn to the vivid pops of color from wild flowers growing along the path. But I realized that I probably wouldn’t notice those pops of color without the lush green background. I began to realize that even though the greenery seemed dull, it served a purpose that helped to produce beauty.

In my own life I tend to “separate” the mundane aspects of my life from this mystical little adventure I’m on and I felt like God was saying that even the mundane is part of His plan. I didn’t fully get why He was bringing this to my attention back in January when I wrote the above excerpt, but I sure do get it now. We’ve been encouraged to be contemplative all day long, walking with a certain posture and trying to bring God into everything we do.

I often think of quiet monks tending fields and even washing dishes and what they might be striving to do while attending to these tasks. Monks move slowly and quietly in their tasks and it occurs to me that when I emulate them, I am actually more efficient because I have time to think about the most efficient way to get something done!

And, trying to be as quiet as possible while washing dishes is a challenge, but if I were in a monastery, I might interrupt another’s prayers if I’m clashing the plates together and letting cupboard doors slam shut. Stillness is often where we find God, so if I can learn to be quieter as I do certain jobs, I might find God more often in my life!

There were also remnants of old stones along the more modern path and yet, this contrast was quite beautiful, even those the stones were worn down with time and parts of them were missing. This reminded me that the parts of my life that I consider ugly actually add to the overall beauty of my walk with the Lord and I shouldn’t be ashamed of them–I should quietly rejoice that they now add something beautiful to my life!

The calendar picture now is “back cover” of my HeartPaths binder and is an ever present reminder that while I may very well be “in progress,” there is much to appreciate about where I am right now and that it’s okay for the unproductive parts of my life to be pulled up for something far better in the future. In March and April God sure did some “weeding” in my life that is still ongoing, and honestly, it’s been very painful. But, I can already feel God “planting new seeds” into my own spiritual garden and I can’t wait to see what “blooms” next.

Friday’s Post: Book Club Time!

You Might Also Like: How Are You Feeling?; The Wild Child; Out of Breath?; and Slow Reader Friday: Creating a Life with God

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016 at 11:43 am and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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