September 23, 2020
Where do you see God at work in this pandemic?
I’ll answer that question with another question.
“What is the life-giving choice?”
I was in my early thirties and facing some of the toughest, most life-altering decisions of my life. The kinds of decisions that uproot years of planning, relationships, finances, complacency, and would most definitely affect others’ lives as well. It took an intense session with a dear spiritual director to cut through the hem-hawing and floundering voices in my head.
“April,” she said, “Be gentle with yourself. What is the most life-giving choice?” As I sat there, I knew deep in my heart that the choice I needed to make was not the easy path. But it was the honest and true path that needed to be taken. It would require massive change, that would bring changes to others as well. But on the other side of the change, I felt a glimmer of freedom, a loosening from inner bondage. Peace.
My spiritual director continued, “It’s easy to become overwhelmed when facing decisions, but the important thing to remember is that discernment needs to be lived into. You make a choice, and then you live into it. All along the way you can adjust your decisions, always keeping your eye on the life-giving choice.”
“You make a choice, and then you live into it.”— A spiritual director
Those changes were painful while they were happening, but it’s my solid belief that they brought peace, healing, and growth in their wake, small “deaths” that brought new life. I watched, and took a step a time, waiting to see if the Fruit of the Spirit was alive within the changes… peace, love, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). It was. God is faithful. I envisioned Jesus holding my hand through it all.
I find myself revisiting her question over and over again as life unfolds. As I’m presented with both large and small challenges that pop up daily during this pandemic, I ask, What is the life-giving choice? What my director helped me see was valuable information about what discernment means for me, and how to listen to how God is alive within me… when I slow down to hear it.
“Should I stay home or go out and risk it?”
“How do I respond among people who act irresponsibly and put others at risk?”
“If I lose my job, what can I learn from that, and what’s my next adventure to embrace?”
“How can I trust ANYTHING in the midst of all this uncertainty?”
I’m reminded that I need to take a breath, reflect, and hear that the only place I need to put my trust and my faith is in God – the life-giving choice. He would point me to respond to all the questions with love. All the hem-hawing worries are not life-giving. I can pray, quiet myself, read my Bible and open to the trust that God will plant more seeds and grow more spiritual fruit. One step at a time. With God holding my hand the entire way.
May God’s peace and love be with you as you encounter the questions.
– April Nible, Certified Spiritual Director