A couple of weeks have passed since you attended the Take Charge Retreat, and I’m wondering. As you listen to your inner voice, is your understanding of what constitutes a ‘spiritual life’ changing?
Only you can answer this question…
At the retreat you were given new tools to help you to take charge of your life and to develop an intentional focus to center your path around your faith, all the while learning new ways to Be Present living your own life. While at the retreat, the examples given during the presentations may have resonated with you. At times, you may felt like the presenters were talking directly to you… Or even about you! The new tools you received made you feel better equipped to take charge of the life you desire for yourself. You may have felt very clear about changes you wanted to make and how you were going to make these changes.
A couple of weeks have passed; the tools may not be making as much sense and the path you are on may becoming less clear and more difficult to navigate, and roadblocks are causing you to stumble and feel less confident in your ability to really take charge. The retreat memory is fading, and the changes you wanted to make within your own life may becoming vague and unclear.
Take a deep breath!! I have good news for you! You are not alone! You are a member of a community of faith-based women. We each stumble along our path, falling from our path from time-to-time and day-to-day. Remember the old saying - “Four steps forward and two steps back…” I wonder if the person who said this was trying to describe her feelings as she navigated her life’s spiritual path.
As a community of faith-based women, we share two common and very significant traits. First, we are human. We are far from perfect and will make mistakes. We will stray from our path for one reason or another, and usually for what we may believe to be very good reasons for doing so. We have an uncanny ability to rationalize - to justify the decisions we make and the actions we do. Our rationalizations may include such things as, “A glass of wine is a serving of fruit. One cookie can’t hurt! I fall asleep when I try to meditate. I don’t have time to sit quietly and mediate. Or I can’t exercise this morning, I have to get these errands done.” These are only a few of my own rationalizations.
Our intentions may be good, however, we allow blocks along our path to steer us from taking the next step to really take charge of our life. We allow these blocks along our path to obscure our view of the next step forward. Let’s recall the pictures of the steps from the retreat. We could clearly see the first few steps. As the steps neared the top, we could not see the end of the steps. We could not see where the steps would take us as we proceeded up the stairs one-step-at-a time. Staying on course and moving forward one-step-at-a-time, when we reached the top of the steps, we would then see where the steps continued.
The second trait we share is that we are a COMMUNITY of faith-based women. By definition, community is “a unified body of individuals or as a group of persons sharing a common interests.” As we encounter one another along our spiritual paths, we are creating a community that provides us with compassion, goodness, understanding and grace. Thomas Merton said, “Through community, we become the doors and windows through which God shines back into His own house.” As we become more fully engaged members of community, we are able to be the creative, spiritual, and lovable beings we have been made to be. We realize we see God’s work in each of our faces. We see God’s face is our friend’s face, our family’s faces, and in our face as we see our reflection in the mirror. We are made in the image of God.
We begin to realize, God is community and desires to be part of our community. We realize each of us is a valuable part of the community as a whole. The community as a whole would not be whole, would not be complete, if one or more parts were not present. We realize that, by being part of a faith-based community, we are part of God.
What does this mean for you? What does this mean for me?
It means that even though we struggle, deviating from our path, we are not alone. We are members of a faith-based community. Within this community of faith-based women for which we are a part, we can each find compassion, goodness, understanding and strength to help us find our way to the next step. Someone is here to help you to take the next step forward. As you are navigating your path, do not hesitate to contact Maryanne, Henrieta, and me with questions.
My charge for you is to reflect on where you are on your spiritual path and to have a conversation (yes, a verbal conversation, not through texting, email, or Facebook notifications) with another woman for the intentional purpose of sharing where you are on your path, including the blocks you are encountering. Then, ask your friend how she is navigating her spiritual path, including the blocks she is encountering. How can you help her to make take the next step forward?
You are not alone on your journey. Your next step forward is within your view.