By Jennifer Grabianski
I nestled into a comfy couch in the living room, surrounded by 10 caring and supportive women, most of whom I’d never met before. It was March 2011, and the Lenten season was about to begin. I had completed two-thirds of the Listen to My Life maps, and our leader was previewing the next map, “Life-Giving Rhythms,” which is about listening to God by forming an intentional rhythm of spiritual practices.
What does she mean by “spiritual practices”? I wondered. Are we going to complete a whole map around the two familiar practices of prayer and worship?
The room filled with the sound of pages turning, and suddenly, I was staring at a list of over 30 spiritual practices, most of which I’d never heard of before. My curiosity was piqued, and slowly, an idea began to form in my head. I had already decided to set aside the next six weeks of Lent to spend time with God in a new and special way, but I hadn’t decided exactly what that would look like. What if I spent each week of Lent exploring a new spiritual practice?
As I considered this idea, the quiet voice of God joined my thoughts, challenging me to take a risk. If I tried to put His whispers into words, they might have sounded like this: “Remember what I’ve been teaching you through the first five maps. I’ve clearly confirmed in your heart what I made you for—teaching and shepherding. I’ve placed in you the desire to come alongside others as they grow in their faith. I’ve just given you the topic, and now I will bring the people to you. Push past the fear, and do it afraid”!
After spending a few moments arguing with that whisper, I found my hand up in the air. I tentatively announced to the group that I had decided to take a step of obedience. I was going to create a six-week course on exploring new spiritual practices, and anyone who might be interested was welcome to join me.
To my great surprise and to God’s glory, I spent that season of Lent with seven other women, many from my Listen to My Life group, broadening the ways we experience God, growing closer to Him and to each other. And, I continued to take risks in the months and years that followed, seeking to obey God by using the gifts He had given me. Now, six years later, I teach a Bible study at my church, and I am a certified life coach, joyfully living out the calling God placed on my life when He created me.
“He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV)
- What life-giving rhythms help you listen and grow closer to God?
- How might you learn about new spiritual practices? Who could you ask to join you?
- What has God asked you to do that feels risky in some way? Consider talking to God about the possibility of “doing it afraid.”
Thank you God for creating me as Your masterpiece and allowing me to know You and grow closer to You in so many ways. Forgive me for the times I’ve let fear get in the way of serving You. Help me to keep my heart and mind open to Your whispers. Give me the faith to believe that following You, while sometimes risky, is the best way to live. Thank You for the calling You have placed on my life.