Friday, October 5, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Guidance

A devotional by Lisa Lickel

"But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." 
~John 14:26 (ESV)

“As the holy humility that was in him did not allow him to trust in himself or in his own prayers, he humbly turned to others in order to know God’s will in this matter.” 
~Brother Ugolino di Monte Santa Maria, writing of St. Francis of Assisi’s 
decision process regarding his life’s mission

As I grow older (a good thing!), it seems the professionals around me grow younger. For the first time in our experience, the pastor of our church is younger, not just than we are, but younger than our children. And I’m okay with that. Right now, our pastor is a good role model in practicing his own education—he’s in graduate school—and in modeling his faith in the community. He’s also humble in recognizing his schedule is full, but that he understands his call is to his flock, then his other tasks. Maybe he’s not perfect in his balancing act, but that’s our cue to come alongside. Guidance needs to go both ways to show progress.

Part of my doldrums problem in my faith walk came from burnout. I look back and watch myself leading more than one Bible study a month, writing curriculum, teaching Sunday School, speaking, and so on. I loved it but I realized I was one person in that role. I didn’t have a role model, or even a prayer partner for several years, and that lack created a sinkhole that took me years to climb out. When I emerged, the situation didn’t feel the best but was right at the time. I needed patience and had to see with different eyes what an old, traditional congregation looked like to appreciate the surprising church where I now worship.

When my son was in high school and college, he took it upon himself to ask one of the men in our congregation to serve as a mentor. I was surprised and pleased he thought to do so, and a little jealous that I hadn’t considered his need and guided him. Unwittingly, he showed me what I lacked in my life, although I didn’t know it then. In the years that have followed, I have watched my children grow in their faith and find new role models, both personal and through music and writings.

Our church strongly encourages us now to look for guidance first through active reading and studying the Scriptures, and also through role models of the faith. Our young pastor reminds us how our long-standing principles of living our faith should be modeled on the heroes of the recent past, like those who strove to abolish slavery and those who worked for prison reform.

But I’ll share a secret. My new church is filled with people, both youthful and well-lived, who guide my faith with every thought. They live what they believe in their work and play, their family life, and worship. They’re not perfect, naturally, but they’ll admit it, and invite all of us to pray with them.

Like the earliest church in Jerusalem, we look to our triune God as the giver of all good things, including each other. The Holy Spirit guides us now, a true gift from Jesus whose perfect love models the nature of our Father, the Creator, who loves us in spite of ourselves.

My Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for refreshing my faith and providing precious guidance through role models throughout the generations and today.

Author Bio:
Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. 

A multi-published and award-winning novelist, she also writes short stories and radio theater, is an avid book reviewer, blogger, a freelance editor, and workshop leader. 

She is a member of Chicago Writers Association and part of Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc., mentoring writers from across the United States and Canada. 

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