I have been incorporating some new disciplines into my life over the past few weeks.  We have recently started a new women’s bible study and I expect that I will be blessed and inspired by the time that I invest in that process.  However, I have been doing these bible studies for a number of  years, and I also wanted to explore something that would push me to deepen my prayer life like the bible studies help me to dig deeper into God’s Word.

About a year ago, I read a quote from Ignatius Loyola…I don’t even remember what it was now.  Interested in the faith of this 16th century founder of the Jesuits, I did some reading online.  Through that process, I learned about his Spiritual Exercises…a process that is usually done in a 30 day retreat setting.  While a 30 day retreat sounds awesome, it is not a very practical idea for me right now.  Instead, I found an Online Retreat that interested me.  It is a 34 week journey…they call it “a retreat for everyday life.”  I see it as a way to give focus to my conversations with God.  I was intrigued by the idea last year, but did not pursue it at that time.  This year, I have been drawn back to it by a series of events and started it this past week.  I have invited a friend to journey with me and I offer that same invitation to those of you who read this blog.  Let me know if you check it out and want to join us.  I intend to write about it as the Spirit leads.  Here is one of my favorite parts of this week’s reading:

…do not expect, look for or demand progress.  Enjoy and live the process, even though as with physical exercise, you might not like doing them every day…We allow God to give the increase, the insights, the progress.  We begin expecting God to be busy laboring on our part of creation which we have found quite unfinished as a work of art.

Be open and trust in a God who is not outdone in generosity.

A God who is not outdone in generosity….I love that and I believe it to be true.  Although I have been the recipient of that generosity over and over again, I find that I often still hold back from truly living the adventurous life of faith that God has planned for me.  God will not impose that generosity on us; He only gives that portion of His Spirit which we will gratefully accept…we have to open up our hands.  Psalm 81:10 says “Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.”  Notice what comes first.

  I know am not alone in this struggle.  I love this description of that dilemna in the new Casting Crowns song “Somewhere in the Middle.”  Here are the lyrics; I especially love the chorus that I indicated in BOLD: 

“Somewhere In The Middle”

Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You’ll find me

Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You’re making me
Somewhere in the middle, You’ll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end, and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle

Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves

Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You’ll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You’re by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I’m caught in the middle