Lover of God, wife, mother, British missionary in Peru... click here to learn more about Anna and this blog and how it can serve you.

Twelve months of Grace

Twelve months of Grace

My spirit adores spending time with God.  Over time my spirit has become increasingly alive and finds joy and God in the smallest of things.  There are nights when I cannot fall asleep because my spirit just wants to sing and proclaim His greatness, and many a day when I wake up already in communion with God, joyful and ready for the day.  This is not and has not always been the case, however, but when my spirit is alive I feel like I am experiencing heaven right now. I can’t wait to spend eternity with God and at the same time love his precious closeness here. Is it possible to live a life so alive and full of heaven now? Is it possible for heaven to be a greater reality here on earth than earth itself? 

 

My desire is to walk out a life in communion with my Father.  Not only that, I desire to see others walking in that faithfulness and joy too.  At its core that is what this blog is about - being a witness to what God is doing in my life and encouraging others to keep seeking God in their personal journeys with Him.  

 

I don’t know about you but the more I experience God, the more I desire unbroken communion with Him, and the more I realize how broken I am.  I realize how weak and pathetic I am at doing this thing called life, and the more I know I need Him.  My testimony is very simple: without Him I am a depressed mess of frustration, introverted selfishness and self-pity, but with Him I am joyful and free to love those around me. 

 

I want to go deeper.  One of the questions I have had recently is: how? What I can I do, (which isn’t striving, legalistic false-righteousness) to create more space for relationship with God in my life? 

 

The answer came in the form of a huge cloud, angels trumpeting and an email written from God Himself.  No actually it was a tiny, whispered daring thought: 

 

spiritual disciplines. 

 

Ok. Ok. If you are anything like me, those words sound like unwanted cold-callers at the door who you only face if you are feeling nice or trapped into it talking to them because they won’t stop talking at you and you are too polite to shut the door in their faces.  Those words are probably enough to make you want to shut down this blogpost and go on your way.  Can I invite you to, well, stay just a little longer?

 

I have been struggling with significance with how I spend my time recently, and one of the people who has upset my striving mindset is John the Baptist.  Here you have a guy who Jesus says was the greatest among men and yet he did very little that we know about.  He spent lots of time in the wilderness, he ate weird foods and wore wild clothing and he declared a lot of things to others: that Jesus was the One, and that Herod was wrong in taking his brother’s wife.  No great miracles were attributed to him and his ministry and disciples basically got taken away from him when Jesus turned up.  However, in heavenly terms he was the greatest among men and he prepared the spiritual atmosphere for the Messiah and for open heavens (see Jesus’ baptism).  

 

So this next twelve months I am going to be going into the wilderness, eating only honey and cockroaches (they are more available than locusts here) and will be wearing only the clothes on my back. Anyone want to join me?

 

I’m just joking. Thankfully for everyone, especially the cockroaches, that is not the plan. 

 

Here is the plan:  over the next twelve months I will be journeying with Spiritual Disciplines. The idea is as follows: each month I am going to study, share and engage in a different spiritual discipline, both personally and corporately with my church community in Lima (they’re signed up too!) . I plan to tell you regularly about it, giving you ideas for how to engage with God using the different spiritual disciplines.  I plan to share from the Bible, to share ways you can engage with them personally, share stories about how we are engaging with them corporately and hopefully find ways to get the kids involved too. I want to share this stuff not because I want you to think any better of me (believe me you won’t once you see the broken mess it will probably turn me into!) but because I want you to be inspired to think how you can position yourself for grace too and help others in your community and families as well. Because that is really what it is all about.  

 

Richard Forster puts it like this: 

‘God has given us the Disciplines of the Spiritual life as a means of receiving His grace. The Disciplines allow us to place ourselves before God so that He can transform us.’
— Celebration of Discipline

Receiving His Grace, being placed before God and being transformed individually and corporately.  Isn't that what we are here for? So this twelve months (I can't believe I am making a commitment for that long - that may be why I encouraged our community here to do it too!) is definitely not about legalism or just completing a fun challenge (yeah, ‘cause spiritual disciplines are what we all do for fun!), and it is not about feeling holy and better about myself. It is all about Him - about positioning our hearts for freedom, romance, grace, joy, and deeper relationship with Him, knowing that there are still many things that need to be laid down in our lives.  It is about embracing the cross knowing that resurrection can only happen to dead people.  

 

So why don’t we do this together? 

 

We’re starting on September first with an unusual spiritual discipline: engaging with God through Creation (don't worry, some of the fun ones like fasting will be included later on!). I will post more about it next week, but let me know if you are interested in joining in.  You can sign up to receive new blogposts here to keep up with the spiritual disciplines journey as well as other posts I from The Quiet Corner and/or join us at the Facebook community here.  

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