Being a Contemplative Christian does not exempt me from worry, fear and anxiety. It does, however, make a way through the challenging stuff of life creating opportunity for authentic transformation.
How does transformation translate into real world experience? What does it look like? What does it feel like As a single woman, business owner, mother, grandmother and Spiritual Director, life can feel overwhelming at times. Primarily when I let some situation trigger me into creating a fictitious story in my mind about what could happen, rather than what is happening, in the moment. Perhaps you can I identify with this? From the story comes fear, worry and all the ‘what ifs’ that cause the stressful feelings of being overwhelmed. The story takes on a life of it’s own and worry quickly becomes fear that quickly turns into anxiety. So then what?
Sometimes I berate myself for not trusting God more. Sometimes I pray more, or pray less. Other times I distract myself with family or work. Yet all of the time God’s gentle, relentless voiceless Voice breathes deep within, “Be still and turn to me.” What I’ve come to learn is in times like this if I just become still, my mind is drawn to ‘the story’ and focuses on the overwhelming feeling that’s tossing me around like driftwood on a storm tossed wave. It’s the ‘turn’ within the stillness that changes everything. To turn toward God, means I must turn from the story and the feelings associated with it, releasing my white knuckle grip on fear and my small reality.
So how do you turn? Some of us struggle with this concept of turning. What does that mean and more importantly how do you do it? What helps you release your focus on the story or challenge? I’ve included here 7 Ways to Turn Toward God. Use any or all of these tools every day to help guide you into a deeper connection with God, yourself and others.
7 Ways to Turn Toward God
- Become aware of your breathing and notice your mind creating the story like you’re watching a movie. Let the scenes pass by without becoming emotionally engaged. Remember, you are simply watching the scenes from the audience. You aren’t in the movie.
- Choose a prayer word or short phrase that you repeat over and over again as needed. My favorite word is “Jesus.” Yours may be “God” or “Yahweh.”
- Use your favorite prayer track on the Insight Timer mobile app. My fave is St. Patrick’s Prayer which I recorded to help my soul friends arise out of bed every morning.
- Schedule a spiritual direction consult. There are spiritual directors all around the world. Go to sdiworld.org to find someone locally or go to thedeeperconnection.org and book a session to work with me virtually.
- Subscribe to The Deeper Connection YouTube channel. You can pray with me and countless other soul friends right on screen.
- Download my Wake Up on the Inside Morning Meditation Tool
- Purchase my It Is Time CD. If you don’t have time for centering prayer, listening to even one of the teaching tracks will help you turn from your present train of thoughts.
In a simple moment, any or all of these gentle inner ‘turns’ creates the space for faith to move, for the Spirit to breathe and trust emerges. I can not will the ‘overwhelm’ away. I can not muster up trust. I can only choose to be still and let my mustard seed of faith prompt me to turn. For in that turning, God calms the strongest waves and transformation happens.
Who is Maria?
Maria Gullo is the founder of The Deeper Connection, a ministry dedicated to bringing individuals to inner peace. She is an ordained minister and has spent the past twenty-plus years delivering the message of contemplative Christian spirituality through centering prayer, retreats, workshops, and lectures. Maria’s guided prayer and meditation tools include audio downloads and CDs, available here online as well as on the Insight Timer mobile meditation app. Learn more about Maria.
Maria offers virtual online and private one-on-one Spiritual Direction sessions to help individuals develop a deeper connection, clearer understanding and authentic relationship with God, self and others.
Maria wants to hear from you! Tell your story or where you are in your journey.