The book Invitation to a Journey is a great source for anyone seeking to deepen their spiritual journey. It verbally diagrams the perpetual cycle of a holistic spiritual life connecting personal, communal and societal spiritualities as they are all interconnected and balanced within the God intended cycle. This cycle is explained from a solid biblical foundation and is further personalized through an understanding of individual personalities, what each unique person can bring to the spiritual relationship, the need for one another and how, ultimately, the purpose of one’s spiritual life is for being formed into Christ’s image for the sake others.
What struck me about this book was how much clarity and direction it provided in explaining spiritual disciplines and yet it was sure to stress that the disciplines were basically worthless if approached with the incorrect posture before God. The disciplines were not to mastered like daily rituals checked off of a task list, rather they were avenues of offering ourselves in relationship to a loving and gracious God. The disciplines are not only for connection but also to aid in the release of our self control to God’s control. They include the purpose of self reflection and humble release particularly of the places it is revealed to where I am most unlike Christ in order that I might let go and let God do his work of transformation. This work of transformation is a process on God’s timing and requires no work from me other than release of control. A deeper relationship with God will happen when I let go of the expectations of myself.
I was particularly challenged with the personality charts part of the book. It challenged my insecurity of not fitting in or belonging. There were many places in the chart I related to heavily and I felt frustrated trying to fit myself into a column and definition. It created a tension for me of feeling like I’m in limbo and have no real grasp of who I am. Here is a book with a sub-title “A Road Map for Spiritual Formation” and this part made me feel all over the map; no direction, no clear cut answer, a little bit of everything and no idea where to go. This has often been a consistent feeling in my life. I’ve let go of so many dreams in my life due to broken promises, bad choices, lack of finances, lack of support, and now, age. I’ve been trying to figure out what I like, what I enjoy, what I want to do, what I should do and then actually have the courage to conquer my fear of being disappointed again or letting people down and also the discipline to follow through to completion whatever it is I land on. Somehow I end up hopscotching from one thing to another, the only exceptions being my relationships with God and my family. Those two blessings remain the constant in my life.
The encouraging part of this book consisted in the overall understanding of a healthy and holistic spiritual life and what that means as a disciple of Christ. I’m encouraged at the places that I grasped a connected understanding of what God is asking of me. For example, I realize that although Jesus came as a servant, He is not “at my service”. He serves me out of love and desire for a mutual love. He desires my service to him, not out of duty, but rather, out of the response to his love which, quite frankly, is how I feel about my role as wife and mother. The moment I feel like I am “expected” or “obligated” to do something, I lose my sense of freedom and resent doing it. God never wants to guilt me into serving him. It all begins with relationship and as I step out in faith down the road laid before me, I will encounter choices that will either propel me down His path or detour me from it. Either way he’s always with me and waiting to journey together out of the freedom of my choices, not the obligation I may feel.