When my clear goal is the eternal life, that life must be reachable right now, where I am, because eternal life is life in and with God, and God is where I am here and now.
Nouwen, Henri J. M.. Here and Now: Living in the Spirit (pp. 78-79). The Crossroad Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.
So many times, people want what other people have. Two examples are marketers trying separate consumers from their money or closer relationships demanding time, effort, and resources for their own gain. Marketers are masters of appealing to our senses with enticing colors, loud volumes and empty promises. Interpersonal manipulations are often filled with empty flattery, unrighteous infliction of pressures or pain and engaging confusion and disorder. In our current world, there are so many distractions that it’s easy to lose our focus. What really matters in life? Are our time, efforts and resources used towards that goal? Every time we stop living towards our focus, we need to get the train back on the tracks and headed towards the proper destination!
Gracious and merciful God, we know, in our heads, that you are down here in the ditches with us. Help us to know that in our hearts and in every moment, You are present to love, share and include. We cry out of distraction that You draw us back in… ever closer, as we experience eternity with You today and through all of time forevermore. Amen.
As we develop routines, we often skip over vital steps. After reading, please reflect on our routine questions, but actually pause after each question, internalize and engage. Our time spent is to help God help us!
Is there any one idea that really reached me?
What is God revealing about Himself in this reading?
What is God revealing about me in this reading?
Where was the “bottle neck” in my past that kept me from realizing God to His fullest?
Was it a person, or maybe an event? Could it have even been me?
Upon realization, ask God for healing and an example of His perfect love.
Where am I “bottle necked” now in my relationship with God?
What can I recognize, or handle differently to increase “flow” in my Spiritual life?
A few more questions particular to this chapter…
Athletes “keep their eyes on the prize”. Where do we want the focus of our lives to be?
Right now, where is the focus of our time, our minds and our resources?
Were the answers to the last two questions the same?
If not, should the answers be the same?
It often feels like we have our Spiritual life and then we have our real life. I don’t think God feels that He has given us two separate lives. God indwells, or lives within.
How would it feel to slow down time during our anxious moments and fully realize God’s love?
Henri Nouwen used the words “Disciplined Living” to name this chapter. While one aspect of discipline is developing a method to systematically improve strength or self-control, another aspect implies punishment when we deviate from our goal.
How is our punishment realized when we allow ourselves to be tossed in the whirlwind of disorder?
We read about “Spiritual reading” in contrast with normal reading.
The purpose of spiritual reading, however, is not to master knowledge or information, but to let God’s Spirit master us. Strange as it may sound, spiritual reading means to let ourselves be read by God!
Nouwen, Henri J. M..
In addition to Spiritual reading, or as an alternative, what are some other ways that we can include a Spiritual life interjected into our routine lives?
When we exercise God’s Spirituality into our lives, what is revealed about us or about God?
The author suggests that a life without meaning becomes fragmented and degenerates.
Do you agree with his insight?
What is the meaning of our life?
Why is it important to reflect on this meaning?
Bonus round and final question…
How does aligning our Spiritual life and our “actual real life” result in avoiding disorder while enabling freedom and joy?
We’ve each been given different lives and circumstances. We learn from the school of hard knocks! Putting our thoughts and feelings into words can be therapy! Perhaps, the insights and revelations you’ve been given may help another. Feel free and comfortable to share in discussion through the “comments” listed below.
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