Spiritual Formation: Formations and Traditions

How’s that for the name of my next Bible and theology course at Bethel Seminary? Sounds so formal and academic. In reality, the 26-page syllabus reveals that this class is going to push every student to the max for their own personal spiritual formation.

Within this class, I will be reading 7 books and discussing them online with fellow students, writing 4 reflection papers, completing a spiritual genome project of my family extending back 3 generations, choosing a spiritual practice to implement in my own life over the quarter (submitting weekly reflection summaries), participating in online discussions with a group of about 10 other students, and scheduling a personal reflection retreat (required to be at least 2.5 hours long). [Keep in mind this is just one of my two classes!]

I truly am anticipating all that God will show me through this class, but as I sat down and started reading the first book, a new thought entered my mind. The book is Becoming Whole and Holy by Jeannine Brown, Carla Dahl and Wyndy Reuschling. In Chapter 2, Carla sets down the following parameters if one is truly interested in “becoming”: *the willingness to hear God’s invitations in the voices of others, *a tolerance for ambiguity, *a spirit of exploration, *the capacity to live in the moment, and *the ability to manage anxiety.

As I really start to think about all that “becoming” could potentially mean in my life, I begin to become afraid. Afraid that moving right from losing Tim into “becoming” whole and holy I will somehow lose more of myself than I can handle. I have already said good-bye to so many things over the last two years. Will I be saying goodbye to more? What else does God want to strip away?

When you don’t know what the blessings will be, how do you loosen your grip on what you have? So many times, God’s blessings come when you finally let go of what is today, allowing him to give you His full measure of what He wants to see in your life. You don’t often know what the blessings will be ahead of time. But I’ve let go of so much already, I am pretty unsteady to continue letting go. It’s hard to trust that anything will remain the same.

This is when I have to go back and see all He has done and is doing to love me, protect me and provide for me. Looking at His past history of faithfulness gives me a footing to stand on. Yes, He has asked much of me in letting go of things I held dear, but I now look back and realize that He knows far more than I do and everything has worked out fine so far. He has never let me down. I can trust that He never will.

It is still with quaking heart that I carefully move forward to see what this quarter will bring.


One thought on “Spiritual Formation: Formations and Traditions

  1. I hope this works and you get this message. When your sister called me to tell me of your days of woe and then the loss of your loved one, today I am sending a message that your Aunt Luella Beto (your mom’s sister) is in a hospital in St. Cloud, Mn. and not doing well. I am not sure she will make it thru this illness. I can’t spell Scholederma well, and she also has parkinsons. I don’t think we can do a lot except say a prayer for her and her family and if this is her time to leave us, we will survive, a bit more sad for the loss of a great person and yet understand that she has been such a joy to be around, as she was in Alexandria and I would take mom and we would go see her. I do not have an e-mail address for you but takin’ mychances with this method. Hope you are doing o.k. and your schooling is way beyond my understanding. Good luck with all you are studying. Cousin, Susan (Sue)

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