Have you ever noticed that when you take a walk with children, your hands start filling up without your awareness? As I raised my daughters, it seemed this flow of items from their hands to mine continually happened.
One morning while I sat quietly with God, I noticed tears were especially close to the surface. With this noticing, I became aware I held many things. Some of what I held was due to the busyness of life, with the growing demands on my time. Some of it was relational issues and struggles. Some of the weight was due to questions regarding the future: financial and vocational. What was the way forward for me? Was I being faithful and responsible with my decisions which impacted my financial security and provision?
Noticing the concerns I held seemed to be an important awareness. Not judging myself for holding them was equally important. That is part of the gift of living a life with a God who intimately loves us regardless.
Living life with that realization allows the space to bring the questions one holds to this loving God to discover God's view. This place of non-judgment allows the vulnerability with oneself and with God to see the fears, doubts, and lies you may be holding. This is the gift of space I allowed myself.
Some of what I held was completely beyond my control and I needed to set it aside. The real issue was not about the concerns I held; but what was behind the fears that kept me from letting go and walking forward in freedom. In some of the issues, I only needed to know I held them and to let all of it be in God’s hands while allowing myself to step into what I can do to live in today with what I know today.
One of my favorite places to go when I struggle with making sense of my world is a labyrinth. It offers a quiet and physical space to discover what I am holding onto and my way forward. It offers an intentional physical representation of our inner journey. One walks the path in a thoughtful and prayerful pace. On the way in, one is encouraged to allow God to show you the invitation to release whatever you might be holding. During the walk, it seems as if you are moving closer to the middle, your destination. Though you soon discover you become even further away as the path leads you to the outside edge once again. Through the process, it is important to notice without judgment your own heart, feelings, and thoughts throughout the journey.
As one enters the middle area the question to ask is what God has to say about what you have noticed on the way in. You are encouraged to stay in the middle as long as you feel you need. On the way out you can pray through what you can take out into the world, your life, from this time together with God. The labyrinth can be a great place to experience an inner awareness with regard to your relationship with God, yourself, and the world.
From my own process, I was reminded of an earlier conversation with regard to Exodus. The Israelites were instructed to follow the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night (Ex. 13:21). They followed a step by step journey without knowing where they would end up, yet hoping for the Promised Land. Along their way, God took care of their physical needs with a daily provision of manna and quail.
As I remembered the Israelites, I noticed the parallel between their journey and my walk through the labyrinth and my own personal journey. I resonated with the daily provision and the step by step journey without a clear resolution or goal. I am only invited to do the next true step. That is it, just the next true step. I can remember what I have previously sensed to be God’s lead. This step by step journey I am now taking lines well with what I have understood as the way forward. I may be wrong or I may be right. Regardless, I am only taking the next true step. And that is all I/we are invited to do. As you enter this new year, what do you notice you are holding?
Hello, I'm Kathi Gatlin. Thanks for stopping by!