May 28, 2020
I just reread the blog I posted one year ago today when I started sharing just my meditations instead of a travel journal. I wrote “Well, today I’m off on my new adventure...sharing my ‘everyday’ spiritual reflections by themselves instead of attaching reflections to a trip.”
Today I find myself off on yet another new adventure. As you can see, if you followed me on yonderin.com, (now no longer published) I have started a new website with a new focus. It will be sharing as in the past, but now I will be offering a teaching series as well. And, where everything was "private" (as in to advertised except to my mailing list,) now I'm praying about reaching a potential “world wide” audience.
Why the change?
Two new sections I'm planning for the website, each with a different focus.
"Missionary Stories," Also sub-titled 'Stories from the Field' will be exactly that. Stories about missionary's lives and ministries. Drawn from interviews and excerpts from missionaries' blogs, each story will link directly to ways to learn more about that missionary, and--hopefully-- it will lead to new Senders who will support the ministry with prayer and funding. This is the driving motivation for going "world wide." I will be sending out a separate email to let you know when this is posted.
"Contentment," the second new focus, will be a teaching series about living a life of contentment and peace. It's still in the development stages but I think the Lord has given me an outline for 16 separate modules. I expect it will be about one new module a month. Again, more about this when it is debuted.
And, last but not least, I'm offering coaching and spiritual direction again and I would like to reach "the world." I know this sounds grandiose, but I believe the website -- and referrals -- are all I'm supposed to do to make myself available. Travel, I thought, was going to be a big part of this ministry, but life circumstances have changed the focus.
Back to last year's post...
The rest of the post, which I'm attaching below, could almost have been written today. Thankfully I believe I have grown some in the ensuing year. Most of the demons around self disclosure are gone, and the thanksgivings, especially those about my readers, have multiplied.
Last month I started a post titled "It's Been Rough and Rocky Travelin'" which I'm publishing today as well. Some day I may write the whole history of this past year, but for now I prefer to live in the present and hope for the future.
The following blog is just like I wrote it a year ago. When I first read through it I thought, "I’m going to be writing about spiritual growth?" But then, after doing a "fearless and searching" self-examination and recognizing the growth I mentioned above, I've decided to press on.
And you might note...DeMello’s meditation "Vacation" - quoted below -- is even more cogent in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic then it was a year ago!!
As I begin, I realize I’m facing the same old demons…”don’t ever expose yourself...you’ll just get hurt.” I know I’ve alluded to this in several of my other posts, but deeply ingrained training and experience are hard to overcome; especially the 25 years in the ministry where ‘the enemy’ used people to exploit even the tiniest chink the the armor to sling darts and arrows,
Fortunately there are two things that give me the courage to expose (most) of my innermost thoughts...one, you are a trusted friend or you wouldn’t be reading this, and two, at 81 there’s not a lot someone can do to either destroy or build up my reputation. <big grin>
An even bigger demon is self worth. I really have a hard time believing anything I say or write has any real depth to it! (I know, I know...it’s a real oxymoron...I’m writing this as though it does. Go figure.) As I recently told a friend, “I’m much more adept at discarding criticism than I am at accepting praise.” But my real spiritual journey right now is to be so centered in God that neither criticism nor praise affect me. I’ve been working for 81 years to really begin to grasp the concept that God loves me unconditionally! and my only true worth is found in Him. Maybe some day it will finally sink in.
I’ve started reading books by Anthony DeMello lately (which I highly recommend.) I’d read some of his works years ago, but I guess I just wasn’t ready to receive them. Funny how that goes. I think I’ve told the story before (but even if I have you can’t stop me...and it’s a prerogative of old age anyway to tell stories over and over...right?) but when I read “As Bread That Is Broken” it took me a full year to finish it. I’d read a chapter and try to go to the next one but it wouldn’t make sense. A few weeks later I’d come back and, sure enough, I could drink from the fount of knowledge. Have you ever had that happen to you?
At any rate the point of all that rambling is one of his books of sayings (I’ve been reading several) has a story that resonated with me. I’ll have to paraphrase it because I can’t remember which book it came from.
“A man was distraught over his sins and considered them to be so many that he couldn’t remember them all. He would not be assuaged in his grief until he knew God had forgiven every one of them. So he sent a friend to beg God to recount all his many sins so he could properly repent. Some time later the friend returned with this message. “God says he doesn’t remember.”
It makes an interesting bible study to enter “remember sins” in my Bible Gateway app. It’s about 50-50 on passages of ‘forgiveness’ and ‘punishment,’ So I think I’ll come down on the New Testament side of things and trust in His redemption.
The latest book I’m reading of his is “Wellspring:A book of spiritual exercises.” They are fascinating and really will push me into my inner depths. The first two are about a year’s worth of work each. “The Conclusion” has you imagine you are going to die today, and” I ask for time to be alone and write down for my friends a sort of testament…” He then lists 16 “chapter headings” that range from ‘The things I have loved in life’ (with six sub-chapters) through ‘These are beliefs I have outgrown” and on and on.
“The Vacation” has you in a place of solitude with reflections such as ‘Solitude is the time to make decisions. What decisions do I need to make or reconsider at this juncture of my life?”
Not sure what I’m going to do with this book, but you may see some of those reflections pop up from time to time.
It’s been a bunch of jibber-jabber so far but at least it’s a beginning. I got something down on paper to get me started, and, strangely enough, I’m excited about writing about some real spiritual reflections. Maybe next time you'll join me again?
Thanks for journeying with me.