Land unknown and unfamiliar


Spiritual direction is an art, a creative process by which, together, we dare to imagine wild and exciting new possibilities for ourselves and God’s world.  It is a dangerous business because it involves the transgression of limits and our entering into the unknown and unfamiliar.

Alan Jones, Exploring Spiritual Direction.

The last twelve months I’ve certainly been catapulted into wild imaginings.  I’ve crossed into land unknown and unfamiliar.  There has been cost.  So much cost, mostly relational as I refuse to bow any more to the limits others speak over me.

In another book I’ve been reading – and, by the way, Scribd is my new favourite (and legal) way of reading the books I’m never going to spend £10 to have on my shelf! – Bill Johnson says of Elizabeth that her five months of confinement enabled her ‘to withstand the well-meaning curses that people would probably’ speak in relation to her pregnancy (Face to Face).  I too have come across well-meaning curses, words spoken in carelessness or from genuine misunderstanding.  These words too have cut across the things he speaks over me, denying the promises, seeking to make me in the image others desire.  But I too entered into five months of silence this year.  I too received the gift given to Elizabeth and now those curses sting more than wound.  They glance off me more than penetrate.

In the last month I have seen the beginnings of wild and exciting possibilities which I had forgotten how to dream about.  I’ve seen them because of his grace.  Yet that’s not to say there’s no place for our part in this.  Entering into the creative process, inviting others to help us interpret the signs of his presence in acts of spiritual direction, hungering for him and choosing to transgress previously-held limits, these the part of the one who longs for more.

So what would this mean for me, for you?  How might it look to walk in the spirit of Joshua and Caleb, to see the land unknown and unfamiliar and yet believe that we are well able to occupy it?  What might you need to do today or this week in order to free yourself to begin this imagining?  Whom might you need to invite alongside you to help interpret the signs of his presence?


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