Monday, February 15, 2021

Sacred Pathways


I mentioned in my previous post that for the past few weeks I've been listening to a sermon series produced by Bridgetown Church called Practicing The Way. To say that this series has been life changing for me is an understatement, I've only just completed the vision casting portion which was a series that was presented over twelve weeks, one message each Sunday, but since I've been listening to them during my personal time of reading and reflection each morning, I completed this portion in a little under two weeks. I'm beginning the next portion, Be With Jesus, tomorrow morning and I am so excited!

This series has cast a vision for me of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ better than anything I have ever heard or experienced in my lifetime, and I've been in church my entire life.  Basically being a follower of Christ means to be a disciple, or student of Christ, and to become like Him, you live like He did. It means to;

- Be With Jesus, as a student (disciple), spending time with Him.

- Become Like Jesus, which is essentially the by-product of spending time with Him.

- Do The Things That Jesus Did, which is a further outcome of spending time with Him and becoming like Him.

I've taken almost an entire notebook of notes and in the coming week I plan to spend some time going back and re-reading them and sharing some of the key insights from this series with you and how it is rocking my world! But today I actually wanted to jump ahead into the sixth message in the series, How We Change: Key Thoughts on Practice. I'm not going to get into the message so much right now because I want to share more on that in another post. But, there is a survey that John Mark mentioned in this message that I think would benefit anyone regardless of where you are in the series, or even if you never listen to it yourself, just for life in general. Its called The Sacred Pathways Survey which helps you to discover how you naturally connect with God and what your spiritual style is. The link above explains it a little more in depth and then you can take the survey, here.

To be honest I was really surprised with my results, as I honestly thought that nature would rank probably in the first or second spot, but that was not the case at all for me. But, after taking the survey, scoring the results and reading through the explanations of each, this is a perfect reflection of me. I'm honestly so glad that I took it, because I think without it I would have been spending a lot more time in nature, when in reality there are other ways I connect more personally with God. Not that spending nature is a bad thing, it's just not as high of a priority for me as others. Here are my results.

I connect with God naturally through;

 Tradition
Following time-honored spiritual traditions and practices.

 Sensation
Experiencing God with your physical senses or imagination.

 Quiet Prayer
Being absorbed with God through silence and solitude.

These three all tied for 1st actually, scoring a 10 in each, but knowing myself personally I would say this how they line up. The rest played out as follows;

 Learning
Gaining insights about God and life with Him.

 Asceticism 
Obstaining from comforts to make more space for God.

❊ Nature
Appreciating the beauty of God's creation.

 Caregiving
Offering God's compassion to those hurting or struggling.

❊ Enthusiastic Worship
Celebrating God's goodness with thanks and praise.

❊ Social Justice 
Actively engaging with others to serve the poor and needy.

As I said, I was actually pretty shocked that Nature came in at number 6, but that being said, this is an accurate reflection of my personality and aligns perfectly with my Meyer's Briggs personality of INFJ, who are known for being highly creative and artistic, idealistic, and enjoy thinking about the meaning of life. It also aligns with my Enneagram 5w4 profile who are creative and expressive, observing and understanding of small details, and who have a deep level of focus and attention. These results also explain in depth why I have been so drawn to The Liturgical Year and practices such as The Liturgy of the Hours, Lectio Divina , Centering Prayer and the like. I have also always been BIG on tradition and plan for and celebrate the holidays, Christmas especially, and much of that is through food and other activities which falls in line completely with sensation. 

I will say however, that even though caregiving fell low on my list, I am the type of person that enjoys creating events and atmospheres for my family and close friends to come and experience. These are the ways that I express care and love. It is true as well that while Social Justice scored dead last, I do care about such things and I do have very strong opinions. I'm just not vocal about them, at least not publicly. My close friends and family, however, know exactly where I stand on the issues! :) I also often don't agree with the tactics employed by some "christians" when voicing their disagreements and feel that they do not represent Christ or other christians well, as has been the case recently in the response to the latest Presidential election. The bible says that we are to pray for those in authority, and that is what I try to practice. To be honest, I don't get too hung up on politics because thankfully my faith is in someone who holds a much higher, God, Himself!  I don't know if that is a healthy approach, but it works for me.

So, before this becomes a short story, I'm going to close and make myself some dinner. If you decided to take the survey yourself I'd love to hear what your results are! You may not be into this sort of thing, but I find them fascinating and very revealing!

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