Enneagram & Prayer Series Back Next Week

I’ve had a few of you dear ones send a note asking if the Enneagram & Prayer series is going to continue. Thank you so much for checking in. It absolutely will, with Type Four & Prayer being posted next week on Wednesday, and I’ll hopefully be able to get back into more of a rhythm after that. Life circumstances have been full recently, so I appreciate your grace and patience as I embrace the fullness of my humanity (including being six months pregnant!) and my own limitations during this season.

Oh, and if you’d like to dive more into the journey together, to be part of a transformational community during the season of Ordinary Time, please consider joining us for the new Anam Cara eCourse that just opened its doors: The Kingdom of Ordinary Time.



I’m looking forward to experiencing more rhythm together, no matter how syncopated!


Nesting & Saying No

So, a few weeks ago I shared some exciting news with you. And it’s still exciting news—the agent, the writing, the long-held dreams coming to fruition, it’s all happening.



After that post a number of interesting things happened.

First, I turned my heart slowly and gently toward what God might have for me in 2014. It’s been nearly eight years now that I’ve spent time in prayer and solitude before Jesus either in December or at the turn of the new year, asking for a word, phrase, Scripture or image to guide the year. It’s not a way of limiting God, but instead asking for His way of approaching my days, asking Him for the things to be looking for, places to look and the kingdom themes to be attending to. It’s not a formula, but like anything, it can become one, a ritualistic way of summoning God to speak the way we want Him to speak. I’m aware of that temptation, and hesitate to prescribe it to others. If it draws you closer to Christ, go for it. If you find it artifical, or you find yourself straining to do it “right”, let it go. (Which is, incidentally, my advice for any spiritual discipline ever suggested to you, from fasting to observing the Church calendar to praying in tongues to missions.)

This year, as soon my heart posture turned toward God’s word for me in 2014 it appeared. Present, insistent, personal and near, there wasn’t any doubt about what the Father’s desire was for me.



At first, I didn’t like it. This is usually an indication that this is, in fact, my word. I’m a stubborn one, for sure. But both the word and actual physical nests kept showing up in the next few days and weeks, confirming and affirming what I’d heard. There were pillows, pins, and nests in bare trees. I’d even forgotten about a nest that fell out of a tree in our front yard a few years ago, that ended up on a side table in our living area.

I got very sick over Christmas, at a time when my husband and I had returned back to native land, the family “nest.”

And then a spiritual mentor of mine articulated the essence of what this word means for me this year, as both verb and noun:

creating space for the sacred

to come forth and be nurtured

That is my hope and my heart for this year, in so many ways. It’s what my spiritual direction practice is, it’s what I want to do as a writer and a speaker (more about that in a little bit). I don’t want to be put up on a pedestal, I don’t want to be the one in the spotlight. My heart is to create space for the sacred to come forth in the hearts and lives of those around me, as well as in my own life.

When I explain my spiritual direction practice to others, when I sit with a new directee and talk about what guides me as a director, I often use the term midwife to the soul. This is what I believe I’m called to do, to come alongside others as God in Christ births new life in them. My assumption is that whoever walks into my office is pregnant with new life in Christ. They may not know it, but God is intent on bringing forth the sacred in and through them. My job isn’t to grow that life, or to make that life happen, nor is my job to labor for that person (male or female). My role is to be alongside, to hold, listen, comfort, exhort. I create space for questions and struggles, for dialogue with the Holy, for healing, and, always, the cherishing of the new life that has come forth. And the cycle continues, as it always does, God birthing new things, multiple things, through His beloved again and again, because each man and woman is meant to bring forth the image of God that is theirs alone to bear into the world.

So, nest, it seems, makes sense.

Even as a few of my directees celebrated the news with me, they asked quiet, anxious questions about whether or not I’d still be practicing direction, whether or not there was still room for them.

Of course, and always, I said. Of course.

I am a writer, yes. 2013 was a year of recovering my creative rhythms and practicing, of finding my voice again in so many ways. But that was all grounded in my calling and work as a spiritual director, all springing forth out of this ground of intimacy with Christ and the holy work of tending souls.

If I ever forget that, I told my companions, I will know that it’s time to stop writing, stop speaking, because the writing and speaking will have become about me, about my goals, about my popularity.

And just as quick as that, God asked me to put my words into practice. With a revision deadline on the book looming and an eCourse on Advent, Christmas and Epiphany in full swing, the holiday sickness laid me low. In the midst of this, I got an email asking me to get slides in for the speaking engagement I’d agreed to, something I was excited and terrified about, something I’d clearly felt God ask me to say ‘yes’ to, even in the face of my quiet, contemplative nature.

Now, I knew, He was asking me to say ‘no.’

No, because to force myself forward was to commit soul violence. To force myself forward, even into doing something good, something I wanted to do, was to place platform over wholeness, notoriety over healing, being known over being present.

And you know what? It was hard saying no.

I could tell you I’m a Four on the Enneagram, and I struggle deeply with envy and the fear of missing out, and that’s true. Or I could tell you that I grew up in a performance culture, needing to be the smart one, the good one, the strong one, in order to be loved. Those things are true, sure.

But the truest thing is it’s hard to lay down your life, to create space, to welcome emptiness when we’re not guaranteed either control of the process or the results that we desire.

It was hard saying no to Christianity21, but it was the right choice. I didn’t feel it at the time, which is the way of things in the Kingdom, I think. I only felt it after I’d taken the risk, let go of control, chosen for love over my own life. I knew because of the peace I felt, the wholeness, the shalom in making the decision. I knew because it released me into a little more freedom, a little more life, and stripped me just that much more of the need to be known and seen. And I knew, later, because of the way God’s timing confirmed things, because of things that happened, stories that came forth, the sacred that was nurtured, because I was able to create space.


So what about you, beloved? Do you have a word for 2014? Or have you been asked to say ‘no’ to something that would have been so much easier to say ‘yes’ to?

(Oh, and if you’d like to read about powerful post on saying no and staying rooted, hop on over to Jen Hatmaker’s place here.)