Should i mention god?
Have you ever had that awkward moment? The moment your friend or daughter or sister is upset and you want to share more about your faith? You know how much comfort it can bring but you're not sure how far you should go. When that happens to me, I feel a little awkward for a few minutes as I'm thinking, should I say something? Will I sound too preachy if I say something? Will I scare her away? What if she thinks I'm crazy?
'Tis the season for family and friend get-togethers. For some of you that may mean spending time with people you don't see on a regular basis or don't share the same religious views. Has there been a time when you wanted to say something about your faith and felt too nervous? Too vulnerable? Or just didn't know what to say? A lot of women confide in me over the challenge of wanting to talk about their faith to their adult kids but are unsure how to do that without causing tension.
I don't have the perfect answer for this but I can tell you that I've found that people yearn for a spiritual conversation as long as it doesn't sound judgmental or preachy. People want a sacred space to share their thoughts, questions, and feelings.
A sacred space
How do you create a sacred space? Before I say anything I go through a short mental checklist of questions. I ask myself:
1. Am I coming from a place of love or am I feeling defensive? If I sense I'm feeling defensive, I stay quiet and talk myself down, do a quick self-assessment (what are my fears or insecurities here?), and say a short prayer.
2. Am I sharing my experience and using the word "I" in my example? Starting sentences with "you should" sound preachy or full of advice which are usually not appreciated.
3. What's my intent? If it's to convert people to feel and think like me, it's not going to feel like a sacred space. I remind myself that conversion is the job of the Holy Spirit. My job is to share my stories of how much God gives me strength and comfort in the most challenging of times. I say what I feel called to say and know I'm not responsible for anything beyond that. I respect the people I'm talking with and trust the Holy Spirit is working differently in each and everyone's life.
I believe so strongly in creating sacred spaces for people. Places of respect and love and dignity. I know that can be hard sometimes when dealing with holiday get-togethers. I can't say I always do it well. I feel hurt or resentful and my defenses go up at times. That's why this checklist helps me so much and I hope it can help you too.
I hope you'll also keep in my mind my Personal Retreat journal. I think it's the perfect thing to give someone who is in need of feeling God's love and comfort but may be a little unsure how to reach out. I love this journal because it's a gentle walk through the personal and spiritual growth process and perfect for someone who needs help with self-acceptance and in need of a comfortable way to feel God's presence. It can be a perfect Christmas gift for that friend, sister, or daughter you don't know how to share your faith with but want to help them feel God's love.
May God bless you, your Advent season, and Christmas gatherings.
Reflect and Share
I'd love to hear from you on this subject. Do you feel comfortable sharing your faith with others? How can you share your faith with others?