Jessie Stephens


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Sacred Pathways



Did you know that you are unique?

God made you with the likes and dislikes that you have, he made to think and feel the way that you do.

He has created you and knows how you will experience the most fulfilling connection with him. Knows your temperament, what makes your heart soar and what makes your heart shrink.

One of our life tasks, as we grow into the people that he made us to be, is to learn and dive into this connection pathway.

Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas describes different ways that we are uniquely designed to experience connection to God.

Might be fun to identify how Jesus lived in each pathway!

  • Naturalist - loving God outdoors.
    • experience awe and wonder in nature
    • may expand their understanding of scripture through experiencing God's creation
    • tid bit - when people are stuck in the minutae of life, it is good to get outside and direct attention to the details of creation
    • Spiritual practice - Contemplate a tree, appreciate God's intention in design, his creativity, how he kept you in mind when he created that very tree.
  • Sensate - loving God with the senses
    • biblical accounts with lots of color, sound, activity can be moving
    • lighting, smalls (incense), music quality (and volume), touch (rosary?), artwork, good food
    • Spiritual Practice - create a rich sensory experience: candle, music, essential oils, and use prayer beads to pray your thanksgiving to God. Alternatively, choose 1 sense, drench yourself in it, and listen for God's words of love for you
  • Traditionalist - loving God through ritual and symbol
    • think of how God instituted the altar and ritual of Hebrew worship, it is full of meaning
    • maybe the ritual is just an order of worship that is familiar to you, maybe it is a formal liturgy
    • prayer book, daily readings, crucifix, religious icons, rule of life
    • Spiritual Practice - recite the Our Father one line at a time. Pause with each line and lean into God's presence. What words, feelings, thoughts rise up that you can express to God?
  • Ascetic - loving God in solitude and simplicity
    • remember this is what causes you to feel close to God, not just avoiding people or being introverted
    • find God in quiet spaces, want to have your own private time with him, corporate experiences can feel like a distraction
    • internal faith, drawn to fasting, long prayer times, holy silence
    • Spiritual Practice - carve out time for a whole or half day silent retreat. Bring your bible, a journal, and your questions for God.
  • Activist - loving God through confrontation
    • feel connected to God in standing up against evil and sin, justice warriors
    • old testament prophets often fit here
    • protesting injustice, call others to action, confront what is not right, letter writing
    • Spiritual Practice - Take a prayer walk around a neighborhood or area that needs the healing and love of God.
  • Caregiver - loving God by loving others
    • connect with God through sharing his heartbeat, loving as he loves
    • servants, see God in the needy and hurting, love in practical ways, compassionate
    • Jesus
    • Spiritual Practice - this one is a little different. Caregivers can become depleted and often need to be loved on. Imaginative prayer time - ponder how God might want to express his love to you. What would it look like? What it feel like? How would you respond?
  • Enthusiast - loving God with mystery and celebration
    • love the variety and excitement of life with God
    • vibrant worship experiences, are excited about worshipping with their whole selves, maybe dance, clap, move, etc
    • Spiritual Practice - live it up! Have a party to celebrate the work of God in your life. Sing, dance, eat cake and celebrate with him.
  • Contemplative - loving God through adoration
    • are drawn to engage with God in different forms of prayer and meditation
    • experience connection through personal encounters with the love of God, feel his presence, crave a sense of intimacy with God
    • would define their relationship as a personal one of love, friendship and adoration
    • Spiritual Practice - The traditional practices of Examen and Lectio Divina are your groove, but maybe explore something new or branch out and work with a spiritual director
  • Intellectual - loving God with the mind
    • these guys get a bad rap
    • come alive with God through study, theology, creeds, doctrine, and learning.
    • may  be uncomfortable in focusing on feelings and experience
    • Spiritual Practice - Choose a bite-sized topic and a method of study. Dive in deep, but pause at the end to sit with your thoughts. What new thing did you learn to appreciate about God?

Sara Songs

Opening Song
Closing Song

Header photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

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