“So, the paradox of prayer is that it asks for a serious effort while it can only be received as a gift. We cannot plan, organize or manipulate God; but without a careful discipline, we cannot receive him either.” (Henri J. M. Nouwen. Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life)
Just as Nouwen describes prayer as a paradox of gift and self-discipline, nurturing our spiritual health is also a contradiction of terms. No matter how we work, struggle, and strive to be closer to God, it is His movement to embrace us that draws us into His heart.
I read a new resource this week that is helpful in creating space in our lives for God. The book is called Soulistry – Artistry of the Soul – Creative Ways to Nurture Your Spirituality by June Mack Maffin.
Using one of my favorite practices – journaling, Maffin provides 80 inspirational quotes and spiritual reflection questions to explore. She writes, “Journal writings are meant to be personal conversations – with yourself; with yourself and God. Writing your responses to the Soul-Questions can clarify what you believe/think about certain relationships, issues, life, yourself. This is your opportunity to know yourself more deeply and to make time to listen, to think, to pray, to meditate about what you believe – really believe. You may find that your responses to the Soul-Questions raise additional questions and if so, record those questions in your Soulistry Journal for consideration at a later time.”
As I read this beautifully written and encouraging book, a sense of peace fell over my heart. Her questions following the quotes are some of the best thought-provoking ones I have seen. She introduces topics not always explored like the spirituality of play, doing what you think you cannot do, and risking frustration. Often when we dig deeper into new words, we see God with fresh new eyes.
June Mack Maffin presently lives on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada and “delights in facilitating Soulistry retreats and workshops, working on her next book, and nurturing others on their journey as Creative Spirituality Artists.”
She has her Masters in Divinity, a doctorate in Pastoral Care, and is ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada. Her experience is vast in such areas as a radio and television personality and writer; book author, provincial information officer, high school educator, wife, mother, group facilitator, counselor, book and magazine editor, spiritual director, retreat leader, Anglican priest, school chaplain, and Creative Spirituality Artist.
Soulistry will be available as an e-book from Amazon in November and then in book format by March also on Amazon and local bookstores. Pre-orders hopefully will begin available by January.
If you are hungry to grow deeper with God, I encourage you to explore Soulistry to help nourish your spiritual life.
What have you read lately that provide nourishment for your soul?