Author: Amy Ostwald
For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
I have rarely been at total peace in my life. There is usually a question that is knocking around in my soul regarding the way I am living my days here on the planet: Why, when, how, who, where, what…? And so I often find myself yearning for clarity — hoping and waiting for God’s whisper to become audible.
Sometimes it has helped me to meet a friend for coffee or a walk; in struggling to articulate what is forming in my consciousness, clarity can come. And sometimes it has helped to listen as someone else shares about their own journey. But these steps have tended to be haphazard, taken when a big decision is looming. I have wondered what it would be like if I learned how to tune in more consistently. What would my life look like if I let the Spirit do more of the navigating?
I confess that I am sort of undisciplined — so what I have found to be most helpful is to have a regular appointment to work on this with companions in faith; a regular commitment helps me to strengthen my “discernment muscle” and keep it tuned up rather than having to start at ground zero each time I feel the need for guidance.
Some years ago, at a UCC church in Austin, I met once a month with a small group that provided this kind of structure. With the help of a reading and reflection time on four simple questions, we shared what we were noticing about the moving of the Spirit in our lives and how we were responding to it. It was not a time for offering advice, and there was no judgement — the role of the group was to listen, to help us clarify our thoughts, and to provide loving support as we journeyed along the way.
As stories were shared in this group, I found myself astonished by the unique beauty of each person’s path. Our journeys covered broad terrain — from even highways to steep and rocky paths; from tedious boring days to painful confrontations with illness and social injustice.
I now believe that spiritual companionship is one of the most precious and empowering gifts we can offer each other. I am delighted that our church will soon be offering an opportunity for this type of discernment support, and I encourage you to explore this possibility for yourself. You can learn more by going here.
With every day and with every step, I pray that my life might be in harmony with your loving will. I offer you my head and heart as I learn to notice your presence in my life.