Five years ago, I blogged about moment to moment discernment–staying in touch with the Inward Guide.
Patricia Loring has cued me in on the prospects for discovery over a lifetime of a feeling and sensing way of discernment. “Earlier Friends, ” she writes, “often spoke of ‘feeling after’ Truth…” (Loring, P. 1999. Listening Spirituality: Corporate Spiritual Practice Among Friends. Openings Press. p. 73.) This is different from the clear life leadings (career, marriage) with which God has shaken me in my boots and brought me to blessings beyond any I could expect. This is practicing moment-to-moment reliance on the Spirit to help know which street to take or which coat to wear.
To find my way through these choices, I think, I center, I observe how I feel, I sense what kind of pressure there is in my midsection and I notice the results of the choices that are made. I can’t say how led from without or within I am, but I’m not sure it matters.
What clearly does matter is faithful reflection and consideration of what happens and how it feels. And being thankful for the blessings we find along the way.
I was reflecting on this subject yesterday in worship. More was opened to me. Isaiah wrote, “The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.”
I spoke about this during twilight meeting. I wish I had told the story from five years ago or spoken about navigating under guidance. I wish I had talked about how Isaiah clues us in to flinting (“Steeling” is the typical term.) oneself before speaking or acting out truth. We can do this in confidence that though in response to our witness we may be struck by steel wielded by others, the One who saves us is always near and will keep us from real harm.
What I actually said quoted Fox about knowing experimentally. It was more theological and Christ rooted than needed for the audience at meeting yesterday. This is nevertheless OK. The One who molds and shapes us is near.
Perhaps, in order to shape my message, He brought me this morning’s cartoon about a GPS guidance device that can navigate and can warn us from those who may bring us down. But maybe that was just Stephan Pastis.