Shownotes: Episode 019 Interview with Rev Dr Connie Wilson, Pastor at Monicello UMC, Shawnee, KS and Spiritual Director
Spiritual Direction and Discernment
The true Spiritual Director is the Holy Spirit. Connie’s role as a Spiritual Director is to facilitate the connection between the Holy Spirit and the person with whom she is visiting. It is grounded in prayer, a prayer practice and a conversation of mutual discernment. As she is listening to the person she is listening to the prompting of the Spirit and praying that the person is hearing directly from the Spirit.
Image for Living from God’s Center
We are imbued with God’s center, so she goes back to the word, “abiding.” It’s an abiding presence. The image she uses is putting on a pair of glasses and seeing through the God-lens. It’s kind of like putting on the mind of Christ which is always pure gift. The more you are grounded in Scripture and practice the more accessible. You have to know the basics before you can learn and grow into it and the more you practice the more engaged and the more confidence.
The Difference This Understanding Makes in Life and Ministry
Whenever she is relating to people she tries to truly behold them as God’s beautiful, unique creation/manifestation that God had desired to bring to life. When she holds the person as sacred it makes a difference in how she treats anyone regardless of whom they are. They are precious. She seeks to live that out by creating a safe space of non-judgment and acceptance, accepting people as Christ did.
Path to Get There
A path of fits and starts, one of unfolding, of progressive revelation and invitation. Using discernment to know when to go, when to stop and wait. Part of her path has unfolded through relationships with other people.
Advice to Someone Who Desires to Live from God’s Center and Discernment
- Always pray first.
- It is really important that you know yourself especially in a pastoral or leadership role. Try to discover whom God created you to be. Look at the gifts that have been endowed in you to use for a certain season or role.
- It is a practice as well for good leaders follow as well as lead and it is having humility to know when you are supposed to do what. That is an issue of discernment.
- If you are in prayerful discernment about your capacity and leadership skills and role, try to manage and lead through prayer. If we all did this, the world would be a better place in our relationships, family, etc.
- Important questions: Is this mine to do? Is someone more capable? Could someone else do this out of their passion and confidence? Whom can I partner with in order to bring glory to God through the gifts and skills and graces and wisdom that we share collaboratively.
It is a practice of prayer but it is also a spiritual gift. Sometimes people who live and practice discernment, depending on where they are/setting, bring a prophetic word. When you bring a prophetic word, it is not always welcome. So practicing discernment is always, like all spiritual gifts, for the greater good, for the edification of the body.
For those who may not have the gift but have to exercise discernment, they can do so practically. Weigh the pros and cons but before that, sit and pray about it. Ask people who love you and care for you or the group that you are discerning with to be very honest about what they hear. Ask them to pray and interceded for you. It is all about listening. It takes patience because God doesn’t always work on our schedule.
Do not be attached to the outcome. What is the best thing in God’s will and through the process? How can you let go of the outcome and make sure it is not your agenda that you are pushing? Most people in local churches will find that when there is a need among the body, all the gifts you need will be present. Everybody has a piece of the wisdom. Where God guides God provides.
Book or Prayer Resource
- No favorite.
- The language of the prayers of the mystics, from other centuries makes her stop and pay attention more and it draws her in.
Rather than looking to a book as a resource on prayer to mine the contents of your own soul.
Sometimes we are reactive but when we respond out of that centeredness and grounded-ness we are taking responsibility for ourselves and, Connie prays creating an example of godly practice for people.
It’s about God and others. Looking at life through the God lens, recognizing God in people.
Photo Credit: PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay.Com
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Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Music: “A True Friend” by Josh Molen
Podcast Guest Resources
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