For me it's the time I year where I look again at my commitments and decide where I want to continue and where it's time to part ways.
Just this afternoon one of those paths was made clear for me by means of low enrollment. Easy peasy. Decision done.
Not all paths and choices are quite so simple.
I used to think if discernment as a front loaded process where if you prayed and worked hard looking at the options and made a decision you were good. Discernment complete.
Yet as I move into more and more where I believe God is leading me I'm beginning to understand and experience how discernment isn't typically quite so definitive - it's not a closed case after the decision's been made many times, with few exceptions. It's feels more like living in the act of discerning rather than seeing discernment as simply choice making.
Discernment is choice making, and more.
Thank you for reading. :)
What choices are you making?
How have you understood discernment?
After finishing my last devotional book, I've been hoping to find something else to usher me into Jesus' presence each morning. Leaving yoga yesterday I stumbled on a great little bookstore next door -- Gatsby Books in Long Beach. As I browsed the shelves I noticed they carried a small publisher is like -- Write Bloody -- and my favorite poet, Derrick C. Brown.
I saw two titles I didn't own and picked them up. It wasn't till I got home that I realized I'd found my next devotional.
I've written here before: all truth is God's truth. And I believe this applies to art as it explores and expresses the truth of love, relationships, and the world -- all things God says he cares deeply about.
So when I opened up my new find, I Love You Is Back, I was first drawn to a poem called "Saint Marks," as it captured something is recently felt and experienced.
By Derrick C. Brown
The telephone wires must be down.
You still haven’t called this winter.
I decide to go to the church,
I see it from Highway 31, off the road a little bit. Spring Hill.
The roof has blown off of the Tennessee Assembly of God, formerly known as Saint Marks.
I go in with a camera.
The backdoor is unlocked and the carpets are flooded. Grass is clawing through the floorboards.
There is a sycamore in the parking lot whose leaves will not let go.
Fake stained glass decals and pews broken by axes. Hymnals warped.
There is a dove design
This church was great.
I return home to a room without.
There’s a plastic orange skyline of pill bottles on the nightstand. There’s a photograph of someone forcing a smile.
in case she ever comes back.
A chapel fills with snow.
View a sample of the book here: http://writebloody.com/shop/products/i-love-you-is-back/
Immersing yourself in a new culture, even one in many ways similar to your own, takes a lot of energy and interior space for this introvert. It's different from tourist-ing; living in it rather than on top of it or around it - rubbing shoulders and sharing bathrooms gets me much closer. Rather than looking theough the fishbowl I am one of the fish, looking out and seeing, from the locals' perspective.
Living this way for more than a day or two makes it more difficult to hide from the poverty, oppression, and neglect. But as I've felt and embraced I've also been exposed to the tender beauty deep inside the culture's tenderness. The side you see only from the inside.
As a part of my funded Kickstarter campaign for Epiphany:Visio, my husband and I have been traveling around Vermont and now Montreal, Canada. Attempting to be cheap and trendy we booked our lodging through AirBnB.com, and we chose a place to stay where we are sharing an apartment with two lovely people who've been great hostesses to us - letting us use their laundryroom and espresso machine.
Staying with these lovely people this week, for me, has humanized a culture it would have been easy to "fishbowl." I'm not interacting primarily with people who are paid to make sure I'm comfortable and see only the bright shining city (like I would in a hotel). I'm rooming next to a person who laughs, cooks dinner, and goes to work, and comes home tired. It's difficult to not feel the city's soul when you're living with its people.
And in feeling its soul I'm finding its beauty, not apart from the graffiti and littered alleyways, but in their midst.