This is a great article on spiritual formation with John Ortberg…Here’s an except that i really liked:
Four or five years ago?it was a very painful time?I was recognizing the kind of fuel I was running on. A lot of my life had been about wanting people to think I’m doing really well. So somebody would kind of tell me what to do?parents, teachers, whoever?and I would try real hard to do it really well so they would think I was doing well. I would use my gifts to “do well.” Ultimately that gets hollow.
I hit a point in my life where I was feeling intensely the hollowness of my existence.
So I called Dallas and Jane Willard.
I spent the better part of a day just saying, “I feel empty. I feel like I’m doing all of this stuff, and I know it’s good stuff, but I don’t feel the goodness or the joy of it.”
We talked about growing up and my family. I remember Jane drew a little diagram that I still have in my journal that was very helpful. And then Dallas said, “Let’s pray.”
I prayed. Jane prayed. Then when Dallas started to pray, he put his hand on my chest?and just that touch?it was powerful.
I had been trying so hard to have people think I’m doing well and to live off that; and to be at a place where I had just been fully honest about that, and embarrassed and ashamed about that. And then to have what the hunger is really for?to be loved?expressed in that moment of real vulnerability by a touch and then by a prayer. I will remember that as long as I live. That was a moment of true pastoral care.
I don’t know what to do with something like that. It’s not like it’s a tool that I can put in a kit. It was just something that touched me in a way that I really, really needed to be touched.
One of my passions is beginning to become about trying to create (or better yet, cultivate) this kind of community and foster genuine, authentic, transparent relationships where we can talk about the deepest issues of our hearts and really give true transformation a chance. I’ve longed for this type of community for so long (and even those of us who are more closed type of people who might not naturally long for it, need it just as bad…) I think we need to examine some new ways for this to actually happen, but i think it is possible in our amazingly individualised suburban lives…