Reading: Making All Things New, Chapter I: “All These Other Things”
Welcome to our first full week of the discussion. We begin with a challenging, but crucially important chapter. Henri asks us to go deep into ourselves and bring an awareness to our current experience of life. If we are not happy with the actual state of our lives, Henri asks us to challenge the assumption that we have to just accept things as they are (p22).
1) “Our first task is to … look critically at how we are living our lives. This requires honesty, courage, and trust. We must honestly unmask and courageously confront our many self-deceptive games” (p22).
a) Consider carefully the ways you think, speak, feel and act in your day to day life. How might some of these expression, both the negative and the positive, actually be a subtle expression of hunger for the Spirit of God?
b) Have some of your ways of thinking, speaking, feeling and acting held you back from living the full life in the Spirit that Jesus came to give you? Are you ready to question/challenge these limiting beliefs, expressions, feelings and actions?
c) Take some time to consider if you are ready for change. Ready to seek and discover the joy, peace and abundance that are yours in Christ Jesus, yours even amidst the “pains and joys of the here and now” (p21).
d) Do you believe change is possible for you?
2) Henri uses two words to describe the experiences many people have in their day to day life. The first one is being “filled” – and this can mean being busy and or being preoccupied (worried). The second one is being “unfulfilled” – a sense of boredom, resentment, and depression.
a) How does being “filled” (busy and/or preoccupied) serve you? What benefit do you get from it? How does being “filled” keep things safe?
b) How can being “filled” be a limiting factor for your spiritual life?
c) How can a life/mind that is filled in either of these two ways lead to a heart/spirit that is unfulfilled and lonely?
3) The good news is that “Jesus responds to this condition of being filled yet unfulfilled… He wants to bring us to the place where we belong. But his call to live the spiritual life can only be heard when we are willing honestly to confess our homeless and worrying existence and recognize its fragmenting effect on our daily life. Only then can a desire for our true home develop” (p37, italics added).
INVITATION: Give some dedicated time this week to allow a desire for your true home to develop. Take 30 minutes each day and bring these questions, along with all of your own, before Jesus. Ask him to help you see the honest answers, to give you the courage to acknowledge your current reality, and the trust that he has something much better in store for you. Share your experience with us, if you choose.
As I wrap up I want to share, for those who don’t already know, that Henri truly understood the struggle to put worry in its place. At times it was a powerful force in his life. But he didn’t accept that as the inevitable. You too, no matter how powerful the force of worry currently is in your life, can make a choice for something different.
Finally, please, as always, feel free to share whatever comes up for you in the readings. These questions are meant to guide us and get the discussion flowing, but we are not bound to them.