A powerful, thought-provoking insight....

Give me a well-trained tongue that has been borne out of silent listening in the sanctuary of my heart.

~ sevensacredpauses by Macrina Wiederkehr

Friday, September 17, 2010

Strengths and Stumbling Blocks

We are all growing. We all have strengths in some areas. We all have those areas which are hard for us, which will trip us up often unless we are very aware. As I watch my children, I notice their strengths and their stumbling blocks. With children, sometimes as parents or friends, we can help them hone some of their stumbling blocks into steps or jumping-off points. As adults, it's harder for us to see our own stumbling blocks. That's where it pays off to have a spiritual friend or mentor.

Stumbling blocks are not all bad. As in all of life, we tend to learn more when we fail, or stumble, than while we are sailing gaily along. Something which is a stumbling block for me might not be for someone else. That is an important thing to remember! Recently, I explored a website a friend had put me onto that looked quite intriguing. I signed up and "introduced" myself into the discussion board. What I began to notice was that I felt really uncomfortable with some of the discussions going on. So I paid attention to that. I looked at what was making me uncomfortable and why. To be truthful, it was the wild assortment of folks on the discussion board. Now, generally, I am accepting of others' choices for their lives and see many instances where I can learn from "differentness". This particular website was one in which varying faiths were welcomed (very varying) and inter-faith dialogue and learning was encouraged. Sounds good, right? It is good. However, at this point in my spiritual development, it did not feel good to me. I did not experience this process as helpful to my Christian spiritual formation. What I did realize was that eventually I would be comfortable participating; however, not now.

The process I went through was difficult because I doubted my reasons. I had to look very carefully and deeply into what was disturbing me and why. Then, I prayed about it, and then I listened. What came to mind was the scripture about what happens to those who place stumbling blocks in front of the newly born Christian. In all of my reactions to the varying posts on the discussion board, that was what was deeply bothering me.

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