Recently as I read a friend’s words discussing the struggle of living a contem-
plative life versus one of more perceived compassion toward the world, I found myself getting anxious that I do not do enough to help the world, the poor, the marginalized. As I read on, tears came to my eyes when I sensed God speaking directly to me saying, "Don't you see how your gifts extend into the world, so that others may find their way?"
Words such as these can be hard for me to receive. While I have never understood much about asceticism per se, I have a sense (for myself) that if it feels too good (i.e. if I find joy in my work), then there must be something wrong. I see myself as not working hard enough or doing the "right" things. These are long-ingrained messages that I have only recently started to challenge.
I LOVE the "work" (and it is difficult to even use that word) I do with Soltura and at Mars Hill. My heart fills as I see men and women come to have more self-awareness, compassion for themselves and begin to understand what truly brings them alive in the world.
The psalmist said, "Harden not your hearts,” and it is when my heart is open that I see change happen in my world. Can I be satisfied with changing the world the way I am best equipped or must I be a woman doing big, radical, self-sacrificial things to be effective?
And so my challenge, and question perhaps, is can I allow myself to do the work that brings me joy without feeling that I must embody suffering along the way?
A wise man prompted me to remember one of my favorite quotes and suggested perhaps that is where I am already living. Hmm. Guess I'll keep pondering ☺.
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." --Frederick Buechner on vocation
Where does your deep gladness meet the world’s deep hunger?
photos by lucy