Today at Connect we mostly had a free day so I took the opportunity to rest and catch up on just a few of the dozen or so books that I am currently reading.
My friend and fellow leader in Prague, Kara Swindler attended an Xchange session this afternoon. The discussion on spiritual formation was facilitated by our North American training leader, Christine Osgood and Hud McWilliams, our resource pastor. The following is based on Kara’s notes and thoughts from that time.
Spiritual formation is the process of being conformed to the image of Christ for the glory of God and the benefit of others.
In suffering, be quick to listen to God, slow to speak and slow to get angry.
We know we’ve moved from our stagnant dwelling place in times when we don’t know how to relate to God in our old way. We must be awakened!
The process of spiritual formation many times goes something like this:
After being awakened we might feel anxiety and it will be hard not to run back to our stagnant ways, a place that’s familiar. Stay in and keep seeking. In the anxiety, we often feel deep mistrust towards God and now it’s up to us to work since we don’t know where to find Him (which is a lie! We do know where to always find Him!)
The dwelling is not as comfortable as we think it is. God is shaking us out of it. HE is to be our dwelling, our safe place.
God is not a formula to figure out and then say “We’ve got it!” He’s dynamic!!
After beginning the process of seeking something more, we have to start purging our old ways. The ways that don’t move us closer to God.
Remember it’s a relationship. Two people moving closer in a relationship causes good anxiety and tension, but even that can be uncomfortable. BUT it’s moving towards intimacy. This “illumination” or further awakening is necessary.
Union is managing the anxiety together. Don’t forget who you are walking closer to! Faith creates more tension. It’s stepping further into the unknown- into the will of God- it may be uncomfortable for a time, but it’s a beautiful thing!