A colleague came into my office yesterday afternoon with something she thought I would want to read. It was a passage from a new book by Quaker writer J. Brent Bill. This colleague and I have had conversations over the years on the topic of spiritual direction and spiritual discernment. I would like to think that the message in the introductory chapter of Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment will speak to a number of readers of Writing Cabin.
"A compass, no matter what direction we turn, always points us to the north pole – a destination most of us (unless we’re named Amundsen, Byrd, Peary, or Henson) will never reach in this lifetime. In that way, a compass makes a good metaphor for our spiritual lives and the work of discerning God’s will for us…
"Learning to follow the divine compass means stopping and paying attention instead of looking for a magical map with the shortest route highlighted in yellow. Learning what God wants of us means letting the Holy Spirit guide us into the deep places of our souls. We learn to look for God in those deep places and in all the places our lives take us.
"When we travel through life attentive to the sacred compass, we find that God’s direction changes us. We discover that spiritual discernment is about sensing the presence and call of God, and not just about making decisions. …true transformation happens when we let the map (and any idea of a map) flutter from our tight grasp and instead begin to use the sacred compass that God provides – the compass of the Holy Spirit’s work within us."
From "Introduction" to Sacred Compass: The Way of Spiritual Discernment by J. Brent Bill
Image of Casper Friedrich's Wanderer Above a Sea of Fog from Boston College