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Author: Ginny Detweiler (Page 1 of 11)

Let’s Talk Enneagram: Part 2 with Melissa Corkum

Any long-time PRN listeners know that I love the Enneagram, so I was thrilled to chat with guest and Enneagram Coach Melissa Corkum about it on today’s podcast episode. This is the second part of my interview with Melissa. In the first part of our conversation we discussed connected parenting, and if you missed that episode go back and check it out. On today’s podcast we continued our conversation by talking about all things Enneagram.

Melissa became interested in the Enneagram after listening to a podcast a few years ago and quickly dove in to learn more about the Enneagram for herself. She read books, listened to podcasts, and then became a certified Enneagram Coach. In this episode, she gives an overview of what the Enneagram is, how it can be used for personal and relational growth and understanding, and how it applies to her life and family. She also talks about how it can be a helpful parenting tool.

The 9-pointed Enneagram diagram
Image found at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Enneagram.png

During the episode, Melissa mentioned two books that she found helpful in learning more about the Enneagram: The Road Back to You and The Essential Enneagram. Melissa now serves as an Enneagram Coach and loves to help others grow in their knowledge of themselves and their relationships. She believes that the Enneagram is a powerful tool for family growth and has written a short book on parenting and the Enneagram that you can learn more about at her website.

I had so much fun talking with Melissa, and I hope you enjoyed our conversation too! If something from today’s podcast episode resonated with you, please comment below or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page. If you liked this episode, please share it with others.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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Face to Face

Did you know that your interactions with others take place mostly through nonverbal communication? At an often subconscious level, our brains are taking cues from others. We notice body language, tone of voice, shifts in mood, and facial expressions. In fact, our brains process facial expressions and tone of voice before processing the words being spoken to us.

We are designed and wired this way from birth. Infants come into the world primed and ready for attachment with a primary care giver. It is no accident that newborn babies can see 8-12 inches, the exact distance from a loving mother’s arms to her eyes. From this place of feeding and cuddling, the baby gazes at his mother’s face, discerning love and care. From the consistency of these face to face, loving interactions, the infant begins to conclude, “I am precious. I am valuable. My voice matters. My needs will be taken care of.”

I had to throw in a sweet baby picture for good measure!

Our Creator designed us to take cues from others and to communicate at a deep level through facial expression. How confusing then, that we are unable to see His face. We are for all intents and purposes trying to spiritually attach to a Heavenly Father who is invisible. We cannot see Him.

As a teenager, I remember complaining to my Mom that faith in Jesus would be easier if He would just come and sit down with me. I wanted to see Him and touch Him. She remarked that I reminded her of her friend Robin, who would often say similar things, wishing to see God’s “skin-face.”

Truly, Jesus did have a skin-face. He was a man of flesh and blood who walked the earth. Some lived to see Him and tell the story (I John 1:1). However, for those of us who believe without seeing, faith is necessary to fill in the gaps.

The Lord does describe Himself as our attachment figure. Throughout Scripture, the Lord writes of Himself as a Father and sometimes even uses motherly imagery. He is not distant and far off, but He longs to draw near to His children. He longs to provide for them, to love them, and to care for them. He is the ultimate attachment figure, and He hasn’t forgotten about the importance of His face in expressing this love to us.

I absolutely adore the priestly blessing in Numbers 6. When I was growing up, my pastor would pray it over our congregation as a benediction. I have prayed it over my children and my foster children numerous times over the years. It is rich, deep, and beautiful. The Lord Himself gave this blessing to Aaron, priest of the Israelites, to pray over the people of Israel.

The LORD bless you, and keep you;

The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;

The LORD lift up His countenance on you,

And give you peace.

Numbers 6: 24-26

Did you see it? He talked about His face! With all the words of blessing the Lord could have spoken over His people, He purposely spoke about His face. He wanted to make His face shine on His people. He wanted to lift up His countenance on them. These are signature moves of love and care. He is bestowing favor and love to His children through His face.

I believe wholeheartedly that one day I will see my Savior and Creator face to face and it will be magnificent. I will see His facial expressions, I will hear His tone of voice, and I will get to touch Him. For now, I can hold on to Scripture, the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and the love found in the Body of Christ to help fill in the gaps.

We can also rely on our imaginations, which are God-given resources. Richard J. Foster, author of the Celebration of Discipline, writes about using imagination to help meditate upon the text of Scripture. Although I cannot see God’s face, I can imagine how He might speak to me. I can imagine His facial expression. Many times, I have pretended Jesus was sitting next to me in the car when I was deep in prayer. It helps me ground the conversation to the present in a real and meaningful way. In what ways do you incorporate imagination into your faith walk?

Pause: Take a deep belly breath and slowly exhale. When you’re ready, read back through the blessing in Numbers 6 written above. What resonates with you from this passage?

Renew: How does this topic challenge or change the way you’ve thought about your relationship with God? Have you ever thought of Him as an attachment figure in your life? Journal and pray through your thoughts about this topic.

Next: In the coming days and weeks, try using your imagination to meditate on passages of Scripture. How does the text come alive as you dwell on it?

May we feel the radiance of His countenance, friends!

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Connected Parenting: An Interview with Melissa Corkum

It was a delight to talk to Melissa Corkum on today’s podcast episode. Melissa wears a lot of hats, including Empowered to Connect parent trainer, Enneagram Coach, and Essential Oil Specialist. Melissa is a mother both through birth and adoption and shares in this episode about how parenting adopted children led her to learn more about connected parenting. She now loves to help others learn to parent using a more brain-based view of behaviors. Her tagline is “laugh more and yell less.” As an adoptive mother myself, I have been a fan of connected parenting for a long time, and I loved getting the chance to talk about it on the podcast.

Melissa is also a co-host of The Adoption Connection podcast. If you’d like to learn more about connected parenting and gain tips and tools for parenting adopted children, you will enjoy her podcast. In addition, Melissa has made her on-demand training library available to PRN listeners. To access these resources, go to: thecorkboardonline.com/prn.

I had so much to discuss with Melissa that we couldn’t fit it all into one podcast episode! So, in the next episode we continue our conversation about one of my favorite topics, the Enneagram. Make sure to come back in two weeks to hear that conversation.

If something you heard on today’s podcast episode resonated with you, or you know someone for whom this information would be helpful or encouraging, please subscribe and share! You can comment below today’s show notes or join the conversation on PRN’s facebook page.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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There’s Always Room for One More

I come from a small family. I have one sister and no cousins. Therefore, I did not grow up going to large family reunions. By contrast, my husband has seventeen aunts and uncles and countless cousins. Family reunions in his family are loud and joyous affairs.

My introduction to this dynamic came a few months after we were engaged. His grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and I was graciously invited to attend the celebration. There was lots of food, family, friends, and stories shared from the past. Near the end of the evening, one particular story began to unfold.

My husband’s grandparents were asked to stand on the stage, as a narrator began to tell the story of their life together. As they reached the part of their marriage story where they had children together, all of their sons and daughters joined them on the stage. Then, their children got married, so all of the spouses joined them on the stage. Then, they had grandchildren and all of the grandchildren joined them on the stage. At this point, there were probably more people on the stage than there were left in the audience.

The narrator announced that their family motto was: “There’s always room for one more.” At this point, they announced our engagement and asked me to also join the family on the stage. It was a warm, welcoming feeling to be included in such a legacy story. It feels good to be welcomed into a family.

There’s always room for one more. This phrase signifies inclusion. It signifies welcome. It signifies an open door. As far as family mottos go, this is a fantastic one. Now, let’s imagine: What if this was not just a family motto, but the message of the church? What if this was the message of our small groups or Bible studies?

Jesus spent his life ministering to and teaching a group of rag-tag disciples. He seemed to collect followers wherever he went. He didn’t seem to be bothered by them. In fact, it seemed he went out of his way to find them. Jesus didn’t even send them away when they ran out of food (Matthew 14). His disciples were afraid at the lack of provision and began to worry. They wondered, will there be enough? The self-preservation instinct will always get in the way of inviting new people in. Jesus, however, took the food that was, and multiplied it, providing enough for everyone. No one was hungry and no one was sent away.

As Christ followers, we are the light of the world and a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14). It’s awfully hard to hide light on a hilltop. It serves as an advertisement to everyone for miles: there’s provision here.

At this moment in history our American culture is divided and fragmented. I wish I could say that it didn’t seem to be affecting the Christians, but it does. Social media is a war zone of differing opinions. Instead of spreading a table for everyone, often we’re guilty of spreading tables for only those who share our likeness or values.

How, as the family of Christ, can we send out the banner: there’s always room for one more? This table isn’t closed. It isn’t ugly, divisive, or hypocritical. It’s where Life and Peace can be found. All are welcome here. We are brothers. We are sisters. We are sons and daughters of the King. Come, join us!

During this season of fear and anger, let us remember: the Kingdom of God is alive and well. The Holy Spirit is in the business of bringing new people to the table. Let us join arms as a family and be ready to welcome them with open arms.

Pause: Take a deep belly breath and slowly exhale. When you’re ready, read through the above verse a few times. What stands out to you about this verse?

Renew: Take a minute to evaluate your own life. In what ways and by what people have you been made to feel welcome? How did this affect you? In what ways and at what times do you try to make others feel welcome?

Next: As we collectively navigate a pandemic and divisive election, how can we go about treating each other with honor and provide welcome to new believers? What could that look like in our churches? What could that look like in your life?

May we remember the joy of being welcomed into the family of God and share that joy with others.

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In The Waiting: An Interview with Jennifer Alvarado

Anyone who has walked with the Lord long enough knows what it’s like to experience a season of waiting on Him. Today’s guest, Jennifer Alvarado, talks about what the Lord has been doing in her over the past year during a time of waiting. Jennifer started a blog called In the Waiting, where she writes about her thoughts, feelings, and what she is learning in this season.

Jennifer is a singer, a songwriter, a worship leader, and also works at a women’s non-profit ministry. She is a busy woman, and I’m so glad we had a chance to sit down together and chat. We talked about her journey into singing and songwriting, her favorite musical artists, and the importance of good song lyrics! Over the past summer, Jennifer participated in a 100-day-challenge on social media where she released a video singing a different song each day for 100 days. We talk about how this challenge has helped her move through some fears and insecurities. Jennifer is a talented musician, and you can find her music on almost any streaming service. You can also find her on Instagram at the handle, i_am_jema, or on Facebook at Jennifer Alvarado music.

During our conversation, Jennifer shares about what it looks like for her to slow down and spend time with the Lord. We talk about prayer, soul care, Scripture, and relationships. I loved this conversation with Jennifer and so appreciate her willingness to share her story on the podcast.

If something you heard on today’s podcast episode resonated with you, please comment below, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page. If you enjoyed today’s podcast episode, please share it with a friend!

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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A Threat

A few years ago, I found myself in a testing and trying season. Physically, it felt like my body was falling apart. I was seeing multiple health professionals, trying to find answers to unexplained pain. It was a difficult time and one that left me both spiritually exhausted and also spiritually dependent. It seems that the hardest times can also be the sweetest times in our walk with Jesus. Looking back on that season, I remember many, many moments when the Lord met me at just the right time to remind me that He was still there. I want to share one of those moments with you today.

In the midst of struggling with multiple health problems, a new one unexpectedly arose. I went for a female wellness checkup and after examining me, the doctor decided to send me for a follow up mammogram. I explained to the doctor that no breast cancer runs in my family. Also, I was young and had just finished nursing my third child. Surely, there was no reason to be concerned. She did not placate my fears, but instead said that breast cancer could happen to anyone and it was better to be safe than sorry.

With this proclamation, my anxiety rose dramatically. I thought that with all that the Lord had allowed me to suffer physically over the past year, He wouldn’t add breast cancer to the mix. Right?

I prayed. I talked to my husband. Still, doubt and fear were present.

Sometime that week I woke up in the middle of the night. This in and of itself was strange, because I hardly ever wake up in the night. Since I couldn’t sleep, I walked out to the living room and sat down by the window. Looking out, I saw what looked like a small fire burning in the woods behind our house. Without my glasses or contacts I couldn’t be sure, so I kept staring and squinting, telling myself that it made no sense for there to be a fire in the woods. What else could it be? I could come up with no explanations.

I got up, put on my contacts, and woke my husband. “I see something in the woods, and I think it’s a fire.” He came to the window and agreed that it did indeed look like a small fire.

We put on our shoes, left our boys sleeping peacefully in their beds, and hiked down into the woods to find out what was on fire. We soon reached the burning remains of a stump. My father-in-law, who lives next door, had cut down a huge tree and was burning out the insides of the remainder of the stump. It had continued burning through the night and was visible from our house.

There we stood, in the middle of the night, on a gravel path, in the midst of a forest, next to a burning stump. The fire was burning contentedly inside the rim of the old tree, looking like a happy little campfire. I turned to my husband and asked if he thought it was safe to leave it burning. He said that yes, it was safe, and we should leave it burning.

As we hiked back in the dark, I felt the Lord impress a word on my spirit. “There is a threat, but it is contained.” The fire could be a threat, but it was contained within the rim of the burned out stump. He had woken me up in the middle of the night, to hike out into the woods, to remind me that my threats were contained too. Yes, it seemed that my body was under threat, but he had the threats contained. I would be safe.

Sure enough, the mammogram turned out fine. My body continued to have pains and problems, but eventually I received a diagnosis of joint hypermobility and have found ways to manage and stabilize these joints so that the pain has diminished.

However, I know that in this world, there will always be threats: physical, emotional, financial, and social. The Lord didn’t promise safety without threats. That night in the woods, He assured me that there was a threat, but that He had it contained. In other words, He’s got it under control.

In this season of unrest and fear, this serves as a reminder to me of His faithfulness. There is nothing outside the boundary of His sovereignty. I hope it encourages you as well. He’s got it all under control.

Pause, Renew, Next: Take a moment to breathe deeply and slowly exhale. Think back over your own walk with Jesus. At what points have you found Him to be present and faithful in difficult seasons? If you’ve never journaled about these moments, take some time to write them down. Remembering His faithfulness is a wonderful way to fight fear and build faith during uncertain times.

Kill the Busy, Save the Bee: an Interview with Yvonne Marie

After taking a summer break, the podcast is back for Season 3, and I am privileged to start the season out with a fabulous guest, Yvonne Marie, M.Ed. Yvonne is an author, artist, poet, and teacher, and she recently wrote her first book, Kill the Busy, Save the Bee. If you find that you’re constantly busy, but not always in productive ways, you will be encouraged by today’s episode.

Yvonne explains that she is a “busy bee,” and found that she was often busiest in her thought life. However, much of that busyness was unproductive, taking the forms of worry and anxiety. The Lord led her to begin studying bees, and she noticed that, even though bees were incredibly busy, all of their efforts were for a purpose. Yvonne shares what the Lord has taught her about the value of being still and seeking His presence.

I really enjoyed this conversation. Yvonne and I talked about everything from anxiety, to art, to poetry, to worship, to the importance of family. If you’d like to learn more about Yvonne Marie, go check out her website: yvonnemariespeaks.com. There you can read her blog, find out more about her book, and see her upcoming speaking events.

If you enjoyed this podcast episode, or if something you heard resonated with you, please share it with others. You can also comment below, or join the conversation on PRN’s Facebook page.

May you be encouraged on your journey with Jesus.

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Embodied Faith: Engaging the Senses

One of my children is a kinesthetic learner. He experiences the world by engaging with it physically and often in up close and messy ways. He doesn’t learn by casually observing, but by touching and moving. This became apparent to us a few years ago, while visiting the Coke Museum in Atlanta.

When exiting the museum, each guest is given a complimentary miniature glass bottle of Coca-Cola, wrapped in a plastic bag. Each of my children was overjoyed to be given their own bottle of Coke. As we walked down the sidewalk away from the museum, I was shocked and surprised by the sound of glass shattering on the cement pavement. My kinesthetic child had dropped his bottle of coke on the pavement.

I soon found out it was no accident. He had dropped his bottle of Coke on purpose. He explained that he had wondered what would happen if the bottle hit the ground, so he dropped it to find out. My emotions in that moment ran along the lines of embarrassment, anger, and confusion, but my husband quickly turned to me and astutely assessed the situation: “I think he has to experience the world to learn. For him, just thinking and observing isn’t enough. He has to engage it physically and learn from it.”

Parenting challenges aside, in some ways aren’t we all built this way? God designed us to experience and engage the world with our five senses, and it is through these five senses that we learn, make memories, and draw conclusions.

Because God designed us to engage the world with our senses, Jesus appealed to these very senses when He walked the earth. He broke bread. He washed feet. He told parables. He healed the sick and the blind, and He did all of this with a human body ministering to other human bodies.

The Apostle John proclaimed the good news of Christ’s coming in this way:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—

I John 1:1 ESV

“Which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and have touched with our hands…” John is remembering and appealing to his audience the truth of Jesus based on the evidence of his senses. He is saying, “I was there. I remember Him. I saw Him, I heard Him, and I touched Him.” Can you even imagine what a privilege it would have been to have seen, heard, and touched Jesus?

I think many of us are taught, or somehow learn as we grow and age, that all of our senses are not needed in our spiritual lives. After all, how many senses do you actually need in order to read the Bible? Yet, our bodies are designed to learn using all of the senses. This is important in our faith lives, just as it is in every other area of our lives. Sensory experiences enrich and deepen not just our faith experiences, but also how we make spiritual memories.

So, for just a few moments, I want to challenge you to begin thinking about some ways that you already engage your faith with your senses and potentially add a few new ideas as well.

Sight: Most of us engage sight in our everyday faith lives by reading the Bible, but there are many other ways that we can do it as well. Another way is by spending time in nature, visually appreciating and taking in the beauty of creation. Beauty of many kinds, both through nature or through pieces of fine art can stir and awaken in us awe for God.

Touch: Jesus spent a lot of time touching: through healing, through washing feet, and by holding children. There are many ways that we too can use touch in our faith lives: hugging our friends in Christ, feeling the weight of our Bible in our hands as we read, using prayer beads or making a prayer shawl (I have made prayer stones for myself), baptism, washing feet, or holding hands as we pray. These are just a few examples of how touch can be used in our faith lives.

Hearing: For centuries and centuries, common people did not have access to the Word of God. They relied on hearing it from pastors and priests, or on passing it down through word of mouth. Although the ability to access the Bible so easily now is a great blessing, we are really missing out on some of the oral traditions of the past. Reading Scripture out loud is one way to incorporate hearing in our faith lives. Music and worship are also incredible ways to experience our faith through rich sound waves.

Smell: In the Old Testament, incense and burning sacrifices were ways that many of God’s people experienced their faith through aroma. Some traditional churches still incorporate incense and candles today. Our olfactory sense and memory are closely linked, so by incorporating aromas into your faith walk, you can also help yourself create memories. You may remember the smells of a potluck at church, or maybe you associate the smell of coffee or tea with your morning Bible reading. Burning candles or diffusing essential oils may also help incorporate aroma into your faith routine.

Taste: Christ demonstrated this sense viscerally, by sharing with his disciples the broken bread and wine that represented His body. He commanded that the church never forget communion. In the early church, the people regularly got together for meals. In many cultures, food is synonymous with community and can be an important part of faith life.

God didn’t design us as spirits. He gave us human bodies that learn and take in the world through our senses. Since we are embodied beings who engage the world with our senses, I encourage you to explore how you can more intentionally engage your faith in sensory ways. I would love to hear about the ways you find to engage and explore in new ways and how this affects your faith life.

The sight, smells, and sounds of nature are some of the ways that I most love to spend time with the Lord.

Pause: Using your five senses, help calm and ground yourself for a moment by paying attention to your surroundings. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What are you touching right now? When you feel calm and ready, go read I John 1: 1-4. What resonates with you from this passage?

Renew: Take a moment to think about how you regularly engage your senses at church, in your Bible reading, or during your prayer time. In reading this blog post, did you think of new ideas to add to this list?

Next: Over the coming week, become more aware and curious about the ways that you are experiencing the Lord and His Kingdom here on earth through your senses. Look for new ways that you can incorporate your senses and for how this can help expand your connection with the Word, your prayer life, and in relationship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

May we be ever thankful for these bodies that we have been given and the ways that they help us to engage with each other and our Lord.

Pause, Renew, Next!

All Shall Be Well

Today is my birthday. I’ve been alive in the world for 38 years. Birthdays are a time for celebration, but they can also be a time for reflection. After all, a lot can happen in the course of a year.

Last night as I was folding laundry (because that’s what 37 year old moms do much of the time), I reflected over the past year. In a lot of ways, it hasn’t been a monumental year. I didn’t move or have any babies this year. I didn’t start a company or earn my doctorate. Still, this year has turned out to be anything but ordinary…

So far, 2020 has been extraordinary not just for me, but for the entire world! Who knew a global pandemic would sweep through our lives and change everyday life so dramatically? Last New Years Eve, before the word pandemic was a dot on the radar, I was feeling sentimental and slightly anxious thinking about how much could change in a year.

I remember praying about my worries, laying them before the Lord and cleansing my mind and heart before the start of the New Year. In the midst of my prayer, I felt the Lord gently impress on my spirit, “The future is too much for you. Let me hold it for you.”

How sweet the Lord is. He didn’t offer me any future knowledge or prophetic visions of what the year would bring. He didn’t give me a step by step plan of what I would do if calamity did arrive at my doorstep. He also didn’t offer me assurances that everything would be okay. Instead, He met me in my fear. He promised to be there. He promised to hold my future.

This promise was not just a figment of my imagination, because the same promise is confirmed in Scripture:

Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future.

Psalm 16:5 CSB

So, on my birthday, as I await what lies ahead in the coming year, both the joys and the sorrows, I am thankful that I will never walk the journey alone.

As Julian of Norwich said many, many centuries ago:

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

Seeking Safety

Yesterday, I had a blueberry picking date by myself. It felt like a me-date because, as a mother of four, there are few times that I am left by myself for more than an hour at a time. I brought my phone and a podcast to listen to, but instead of using my phone as a distraction, I tuned into the sounds around me instead: the voices of a family picking blueberries two rows over, a mooing cow in the pasture across the road, a church bell chiming the hours.

As I picked, I found a rhythm. Blueberry picking can be quite meditative. Reach out, grab a handful of berries, and gently drop them, plunk, plunk, into the bucket. Reach out again, plunk, plunk.

I decided to be intentional with my quiet time. “Lord,” I prayed, “I want to listen to you today. Speak, and I want to listen.”

As often happens when I pray this prayer, no audible voice followed. No Bible verses dropped into my consciousness. In fact, my thoughts continued unabated, as they often do.

As I moved down the row of bushes, I felt, more than saw, a bird fly out of the blueberry bush in front of me.

“Was that my imagination?,” I thought, “That seems like a strange place for a bird, unless… Oh! I bet there’s a nest in this bush.”

Sure enough, there, a foot above my head, was a tiny nest with three white-speckled eggs nestled inside. What an unexpected place for a bird’s nest! I quietly took a picture of it to show my boys when I got home.

As I continued picking, I soon heard another bird chirping insistently in my direction. It wasn’t a sweet, happy chirp. It was a warning chirp. I knew what that meant: another mama bird was warning me that her babies were nearby, and I was too close. I looked up into the blueberry bush before me, and right in front of my eyes was another bird’s nest. It was even smaller than the first. Inside of this nest were baby birds: newly hatched, pink, with only the beginnings of downy feathers.

What a delightful surprise! I planned on receiving blueberries and quiet time that afternoon, but was especially excited to see baby birds too.

For the mama birds, however, I don’t believe my happening upon their nests was a delightful surprise. It was the exact opposite. In building their nests, I’m sure they thought they had hit the jackpot. Building a nest in the midst of such bounty: blueberries and insects at their doorstep. By building their nests in the middle of a blueberry farm, they had managed to find food, but what they hadn’t planned on was the barrage of visitors that would descend upon their safe haven once the blueberries were ripe.

I wonder if this isn’t an allegory for our spiritual lives? Comfort and bounty bring the illusion of security. Sometimes we believe that God’s kindness and provision means living a comfortable and safe life, yet, this kind of life rarely brings spiritual growth. Learning to abide in Jesus means following Him no matter the circumstances.

Jesus came to his disciples and invited them into relationship, saying, “Follow me.” He didn’t give them the full picture of what they were signing up for. If He had, I wonder if they would have gone so willingly. No, He invited them into the mystery and adventure that comes with discipleship.

If you walk with the Lord long enough, He will no doubt call you to obedience in an area that feels uncomfortable. It may even feel unsafe. Truthfully, you could not be safer than in His will. A blueberry bush might feel safer and more beneficial than a tall tree to a small bird, who is unaware of the danger that humans will soon bring to her nest. Like those birds, we too, may seek places of safety that are actually the opposite. In following Jesus, we can know that from his omnipotent perspective, he is more aware of the dangers than we ever will be.

He never promises safety, but he does promise he will be with us. As C.S. Lewis writes in the Chronicles of Narnia, “Course he isn’t safe, but he’s good.”

As I am about to embark into new endeavors this fall, this is a good reminder for my soul. What the Lord is calling me to in the near future feels like a risk. I have wondered multiple times if I might have heard him wrong. Especially as the world has changed due to the pandemic, I’ve wondered, is this the right time to make a transition? I’ve asked God, “Are you still absolutely sure?”

The beautiful thing about following Christ is that He won’t lead you down the wrong path. You can’t step out of His will without purposefully sinning. He is a good teacher, and He doesn’t lead us halfway to the destination and then disappear. If He’s calling you to take on something that feels uncomfortable, know that He’s already ahead paving the way. He’s got your best in mind. You can trust Him.

Pause: Take a deep breath and slowly exhale. Meditate on Psalm 23:3: He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake (ESV).

Renew: Reflect on your spiritual journey. When has the Lord called you to act in obedience to Him? What did it cost you? What was the result? What did you learn about Him through the process?

Next: Perhaps you are right where the Lord has called you to be right now. If so, enjoy it! However, if you feel the Lord is leading you towards obedience in some area of your relationship with Him, pray about the steps He would have you take next. Ask others to pray with you.

May we learn to rest in the safety of our Savior, not the illusion of our own comfort.

Pause, Renew, Next!

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