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Pamelas Czarnota is a member of the ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod Congregational Resource Team, and a conference speaker, retreat leader, spiritual director and writer.

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Finding our direction

September 26, 2011

How do we know when we have found the direction and purpose for the current chapter of our life and our ministry?

It seems that when we "see" clearly we feel inspired.  We are motivated and energized.  And then we begin to move.  And with that movement we may shift our glance to something other than God's direction.  It is a dynamic process:  finding, losing, seeking, finding. 

We all live this process, some more comfortably than others, perhaps!

When I am praying for clarity and understanding, my focus rests on the space of my mind or my heart that is most open to listening for God's guiding voice. When something becomes crystal clear, I experience an increased energy, a momentum that can move my hands, my feet, and most certainly my mind at a more rapid pace.

Then, all too soon, it seems, clarity begins to be less apparent. Perhaps I am focusing too much upon results, or trying to measure my effectiveness -- or placing more emphasis upon the deed than upon the call which has motivated me to engage in the deed. Whenever that happens, I realize that I am running the risk of moving away from God's call to some self-determined call. It may be a nice thing to do, but the vigor and vitality that underlies my actions when God alone is guiding my choices is no longer there. I begin to pursue the task (the self-determined call) under my own steam, using my own power, so to speak.

And then I realize that I must stop!  I must return, to nestle in the arms or sit patiently at the feet of the one who not only knows me better than I know myself, but also knows all times and places where I can serve most effectively. 

This return takes time and intentionality.  It may seem to interrupt the momentum I have.  But the truth is that this time spent with God, reviewing my plans in God's presence, often provides a perspective that clarifies my sense of what is possible or critical.  It also enables me to see aspects of relationships with the others involved in or affected by ministry that might otherwise be overlooked. 

Take a look at where and with whom you are involved today.  Pause for a moment at the crossroad of options.

How do you see God included in your plans?  Are you running on your own steam, or are you allowing God to set the timing and the pace?  Are there people or possibilities you are tempted to ignore? Perhaps those situations or relationships require a "second look."


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