Monday, October 31, 2016

Pathways Defined, Insights Revealed


Joel and I have been reading a book called Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas.  It is an in depth look at defining our spiritual temperaments, which in turn helps us understand what feeds our souls in worship and in our relationship with God.  There are nine different temperaments Thomas presents to his readers and through studying and answering some basic questions you can see what defines you. It has been very helpful for us!

We have definitely learned more about ourselves and what we are drawn to in worship. We have a strong foundation of faith in the Lutheran Church.  Baptized, confirmed, married, all within it's doors. I graduated from a Lutheran Bible College where I met Joel.  My great grandparents gave the land for their Lutheran church.  Joel's did the same!  We raised our children in the Lutheran tradition, with Joel being an ordained pastor for the past 36 1/2 years.

Still, back in 1972 we would find ourselves at the Lutheran church on Sunday morning and an Assembly of God Tabernacle on Sunday night.  They were certainly different forms of worship, and I felt completely at home with both.  The Philippines found us worshiping in an Interdenominational Church on Clark Air Base and I was involved in a large group of women who gathered to pray for the needs of others, and for healing on a weekly basis.  We sang songs, sometimes chanting Psalms, we prayed and received prayers. We were a group of women who came from different parts of the US and who came from different denominations, but with two things in common.  We were military wives and we believed in Jesus. Women who loved the Lord.  I loved this group!  I still long for such a gathering of diverse Christians who just love on each other and welcome Holy Spirit to be in the midst of it all.  After Joel became a Lutheran minister, those diverse groups were behind us.  Over the years periodically I would find comfort in the familiar and yet struggle with it at the same time.  When I expressed what I was feeling it would sometimes hurt those whom I loved the most.  I did not know how to justify or appropriately share what I felt.  I did not know how to combine the two of me into one style of worship....the enthusiast with the traditionalist.

And then I was introduced to this book that identified temperaments like the traditionalist, enthusiast, sensate, and more. Our friends Mary Lou and Keith brought the book to our attention, we began reading it and it all started to make sense to me.  My spiritual temperament fits into a church that raises it's hands to the Heavens, sings loud praise music, and looks for the supernatural and Holy Spirit to show up and shake up the scheduled service .......or at the least. my heart.  It would be why my top spiritual temperament is as an "enthusiast".  There I was.  Right there in print.  A typical enthusiast.  This is what feeds my soul and awakens my heart in such ways that I could burst with love for my God.  God always works things out!

I began to find this form of worship online at Bethel Church when I was first on the road to healing. And last summer we found a church here in town that fed both our souls in worship and teaching.  As time went by though, we realized we did not quite belong as Lutheran charismatic prophetic Christians.  So easy to find, right?  So we have been going to mostly Lutheran services again, especially when Joel is filling in.  Great people, great churches, and solid traditional services.

So, this place in our journey found us three Sundays ago at our son Mark's church in Lakeville MN. Hosanna is a "once upon a time Lutheran" congregation of 20,000 members with their own coffee shop, book store, assisted living buildings, and more.  Mega.  As we worshiped with Mark and our grandson Noah, and Jada,  I immediately felt my soul fill up once again with God's presence.  I quietly wept with joy that I could be in a "sorta Lutheran, prays for healing, charismatic, hands raised in praise" Sunday worship.  It. nourished. my. soul.

And because of the book God placed in front of us through dear friends, I was able to understand that this is exactly how I meet with God best, not only in church, but in devotions and prayer.   I need not criticize other forms of worship or desire others to be "like me".   I also need not feel guilty because my Lutheran heritage has widened its boundaries and is nourished more by a different form of worship, as an enthusiast who loves to encounter Holy Spirit and the supernatural.  My soul gets fed through relationships, enthusiastic worship, supernatural encounters, and feeling what I experience with Holy Spirit.  There is definitely room for all forms of worship in God's world.  We are all Christians....having unity in our diversity.

I am still exploring how to blend it all together.  The most important thing may not be where we worship, for God, after all, called Joel to be a Lutheran pastor.  The most important thing may be to learn how I relate best to our Papa God and make sure I take those minutes or hours to nourish my soul as an enthusiast.  I find it so amazing that God in His infinite wisdom created us all unique not only in body, but in soul and spirit. He created each of us, so our spiritual temperaments are also from Him and for His purpose.  And he created us to stretch and grow from other temperaments as well.  I have seen that with Joel, who scored high as a person who relates to God and worships well in nature.  I was not into nature much when I met him, but certainly seek it out now.  It is not at the top of my temperament list, but it has its place in my life.

Certainly, as with all books, we discern and glean from what we read, deciding what applies for us as individuals.  It was fun and enlightening to see our spiritual temperaments defined, revealing deeper insights and some inner peace as to what nourishes our souls.   I love how God guides us along the path He has for our lives, making all things work together for good as He shapes us.  Isn't He amazing!

1 comment:

Debbie Huffaker said...

Oh, how this really speaks to me. I am going to do a bit of research on this book, but I do believe I fit into a different category that what I sometimes experience in our current church. Thank you for the enlightenment. I loved the comment about the group of women you were connected with that you all loved Jesus and each other....wow....if only we could all be in harmony like that!