Christianity just lost a wonderful teacher. Today, Dallas Willard has died of cancer at the age of 77.
As a person who has spent countless hours learning about spiritual formation and endeavoring to be formed well, I am saddened that we’ve lost such an insightful man. A number of his books were part of my required texts and his keen wisdom helped to shape me.
In homage to him today, I will refer you to this article that is very helpful for understanding the difference between discipleship and spiritual formation and why the formation of our characters into Christ-likeness gets sidelined in churches and Christian institutions. It’s quite good.
Remember to say a prayer today for all those who grieve his loss.
What do you mean when you use the phrase spiritual formation?
Willard: In our country, on the theological right, discipleship came to mean training people to win souls. And on the left, it came to mean social action—protesting, serving soup lines, doing social deeds. Both of them left out character formation.
Isn’t character formation very much a part of many Christian schools and institutions?
Willard: What sometimes goes on in all sorts of Christian institutions is not formation of people in the character of Christ; it’s teaching of outward conformity. You don’t get in trouble for not having the character of Christ, but you do if you don’t obey the laws.
This means sometimes I write for it myself, and sometimes I find great guest writers who write for us or allow us to repost previously posted articles.
I scope out the inter webs for insightful and practical articles for anyone in a leadership position…from a small group leader, to a parent, to an influential thinker and writer, to a minister, to a business owner. Anyone who influences someone else is in a position of leadership.
[BTW-send me your links of leadership articles or pitch me your ideas. I'd love to have new voices posted at the Deeper Leader blog!]
There’s a lot of information out there, but there’s a big blind spot too.
I’ve noticed something. Not too many male leaders list women authors, leaders, and thinkers in their blogrolls or refer to them in posts. You don’t see that women influence them. What about Christian male leaders? It seems twice as bad.
Michael Hyatt’s “Intentional Leadership” blog is a favorite of mine. I LOVE it. But have you noticed that not one video on his homepage sidebar features a female leader? Does he even realize the omission? Should he maybe be more intentional on this part….I think yes!
(and so should I! I need to question who I read and why. I have a blind spot too.)
• Is it that men don’t give it much thought? (an innocent blind spot that is likely borne of “male privilege“?)
• Is there a hidden bias or disregard for female leaders, and even among female leaders themselves?
and do men feel less manly if they read women authors? Any of that going on?
• Do men think, “Sure, I support women, but women leaders speak mainly to women and not to me”?
Let’s ask some hard and honest questions while at the same time not blaming, dividing and separating from each other. Let’s move the conversation forward!
I, for one, am going to assume the best from my male writers and friends. I’m going to put my trust and hope in the idea that if we bring the imbalance to greater attention and awareness maybe we can chip away at the disparity and both genders will be richer for it!
• What about you?
Are the top ten blogs or books you read written by a balance of men and women? If, so why or why not?
Are you taking the time to learn from someone else’s purview?
• How do we do better at offering others the chance to hear insights from the whole breath of the human species?
• What can we do about the blind spot?
LINK UP & Join Forces?
If you’d like to participate in the conversation, write an article and leave the link in the comments section. I’ll put the word out about your post too!
Andi Cumbo is tackling this and a few others. Will update soon!
Nathan turned 13th on March 8th. The day he was born it was 70 degrees F. The next year it snowed 8 inches. Parenting him has been just as unpredictable. And now we have full-fledged puberty!
Puberty is a hard time for everyone….but for a young man with autism and the family that loves him…it’s harder than “normal”. He’s at once his age (noticing bikini-clad women in commercials, playing video games, growing 6 inches in 18 months, getting acne, fighting with sister, and the rest) and also seems much younger in many ways and can’t grasp things many of his peers do. The phrase “one day at a time” is turning into a mantra I say for sanity.
For a special birthday celebration we opened our house as a kind of Model Railroading, lego display tour with snacks and goodies. We invited loads of people. Grace abounded.
As I’ve reflected further about that day, I sense the presence of God. Those from our church family made special efforts to come. He was lavished with good will, generosity, and affirmation about himself, just as he was. Not a bad day, I’d say!
Here are some photos of the day. (Sorry to say we didn’t get any good video clips.)
Would you like to help Nathan add to his layout?
If so, you can donate to his train layout by clicking here.
(If you’ve donated–Thank you for contributing to Nathan’s passion! We will update photos of his railroad purchases from your generosity in the near future.)
Yesterday, I talked about the shift that happens when a word–and the thing that word is standing for–sprouts into other parts of speech. “Google” was one example. Love was another.
How this transition happens is based on a few factors, and some of those factors are not within our control.
It seems the abiding reasons (for positive associations) have a lot to do with building trust and a powerful impression. There are triggers that make things start to traverse “across platforms”. For instance, Goolge as a company became a certain type of brand when it offered free web searches very quickly with short load times and no bothersome ads. There were no ads at first and then they incorporated Google Ads to make some money hoping their ads would be subtle and effective…bearable. (no pop up ads, etc).
Moving from brand to a ubiquitous termacross parts of speech and culturally (like the word “google” moving from noun to brand name noun to adjective, adverb, and verb) takes something else. Several things.
Widespread and frequent acceptance and usage
Trust and reliability
Close Identity with an action or idea that can be described more accurately than the word it replaces.
In the case of Google…if you wanted to say, “Hey, search on the internet for that,” it actually became more accurate to say “Google that.”
It was not just a quicker way to say what you wanted to, it was more specific too. The word that replaced “search” carried that idea of getting it right simply, in the middle of all the potential complexity. The meaning was richer and more defined by implication. Using google would get you a specific outcome better or differently than other ways to search. Soon all internet searching fell under this umbrella: Searching well and quickly on the internet was “googling”. Even to the point where you could hear someone say, “Use Bing to google a video about the Panama Canal.” (Bing: Microsoft’s attempt to be Google, but they’re too late for the party. For now, Google has won the day by winning the word and the idea about searching the internet, and they’ve crossed platforms.)
For us, as Communicators, Leaders, or Creators, our message can move from noun to verb. For best results, it takes more than notoriety. Whether we’re talking about invention, art, consumer goods, or just being the go-to person on a topic, the same principles apply.
What about for the walk of faith? Same thing.
We have to be so easily identifiable with a concept and action that the connection happens. Whether that’s love, service, encouragement, worship, or anything else that build the Kingdom of God.
The sticky part comes in doing it in a way that builds our “personal brand” and furthers our own interests, more than the Kingdom. We too often pick ourselves. This upside down Kingdom is laid out in Matthew 5-7 (the Sermon on the Mount).
I think we can spot the difference between our own Kingdom or God’s in the fruit that comes to bear as well as whether we sense the consolation of God or the desolation without God’s (felt) presence. This is the realm of discernment, and will define consolation and desolation that later in the week. Stop back soon!
This is a video, a Advent Meditation. I met Tammy in person this September. She lives in Community in Chicago, and they received me as their guest. I always find her raw honesty and artistic sensibilities inspirational. This video is part of a larger series…
As you watch it, listen. Listen well. Listen 2 or 3 times, because it’s full and rich and good for you. Absorb it and experience hope.
I just loved this video (from Christine Sine) and I hope it can serve you too as a tool for a renewed and refreshed awareness of God’s holy presence. Give yourself 5 full minutes to listen, enjoy, and worship.
Here’s my first video of my STORY 2012 adventure in Chicago: packing.
It’s an introduction and a few packing tips I’ve picked up along the way. (Perhaps the only usable skill I gained as a kid from a divorced home. Thanks mom and dad!)
Most videos from my journey this week will go straight to the special youtube channel (for this and other adventures), and not be posted here on the blog. So, after today get the latest news and adventure in video form when you gohere.
I’ll post updates and include videos and photos on my twitter and Facebook outlets.
Starting very early Wednesday I’ll be traveling several thousand miles and going to the conference of a lifetime. #STORYchicago.
I’ll update everyone following along with many ensuing adventures which also include solo navigating my way several hours to BWI airport (Baltimore) and around Chicago on public transportation (yes, there’s STILL 30,000 public school teachers striking and over 350,000 school-aged city kids on the loose….hum. Things could get interesting).
PLUS I’ll be staying at a commune with hippies….seriously, the Original so-called “Jesus Freaks” (Jesus Movement) of the early 1970s, and obviously absorbing good vibes. I’ll be finding good coffee whenever possible, eating Chicago style pizza, and meeting and cavorting with lots of cool friends who are writers, artists, filmmakers, creators, and creative types, some of whom you’ve likely heard of… but I’ll skip the name dropping, at least for now.
So I hope you’ll follow along and see how things go… Trying circumstances, good laughs, bonding…it’ll be great.
Another thing I’m planning to do goes against popular convention…Especially for writing types. I’m only taking a carryon (no checked baggage), and I’m leaving my laptop at home.This will be a test of my smart phone skills and iPhone 3GS battery life. This means I will try to post here too if time allows and the technology gods smile upon me.
OKay! More on that tomorrow… For now, How about some nifty tips?
Want to get better at using Social Media?
If you Learn the Rules you’ll do better.
I found this gem at Fast Company. They made these rules from some great input. Those sources are referenced at the bottom.
CLARIFICATION: I initiated 2 projects at kickstarter. 1 is LIVE (and involves an interactive game through the mail)…and the one below is in the admin editing stage.
This project is about a STORY.
7/31 UPDATE! With some changes this may go through. I got some encouraging news from Kickstarter today!
7/27 UPDATE! Another twist. Today, Kickstarter declined this project on the grounds that it was “charity funding”. I have appealed because no funds will go to Little Free Library, but rather to my trip to share my essay about the organization.
HERE’S the STORY!
Months ago…I wanted to promote the amazing organization called Little FREE Library; so I submitted an essay for inclusion at the September STORY Conference in Chicago. It was accepted to be featured there. I was overjoyed.
Then our car died. So, no money for the trip to the conference. No way to tell the story of the Little Free Library movement face-to-face.
This Story needs a happy ending in just 20 KickStarter days when the Project launches there early next week. Crowd-sourcing can make the improbable become feasible. And BUZZ is ensuing!
Will it happen? How will the Story end?
Stay-tuned. And, pitch in if you can. They make it VERY easy over there at Kickstarter to make sure great Stories happen.
This December I started interviewing people for this little, fun project (for me) which I call, “Ninja Interviews”.
This was really quite odd actually, because I dislike watching myself on the screen, be it little or big. I bristle at hearing my voice being played back too. See, unlike plenty of the American population I have no desire to be famous. We live in times were people will settle even for infamy to get noticed…but me? Not so much. Celebrity, of any stripe, is fool’s gold, and I am dead panning. I’d prefer it that way.
Nevertheless, I’ve really enjoyed this little project, because I’ve gotten to meet and talk to some wonderful people. Their insights have added a joy to my life. Also, I’ve quickly learned 5 things. Well, actually, 6.
1. I have broken nose.
I broke my nose (what professionals like to call incurring a “deviated septum” thus making it sound almost natural, or at least not ghastly). The first incident happened when I was 10, and got an operation on it. Apparently, it’s not okay—STILL. I must have messed it up again. I can think of quiet a few reasons actually–antics I may reveal at some later time. I sound nasalized, and it’s unappealing in its imperfection. ugh.
2. The camera adds 10-15 pounds…Maybe. I’m overweight, and that’s the other reason.
3. People don’t or won’t “get me”. I’m odd. I know this. Some people will hate. End of Story.
4. I had Bells Palsy in 11th grade. It paralyzed half of my face (Including my muscles and taste buds on the right side of my tongue, my right eyelid, and my lips on the right side too) for 6 weeks. On video, I can tell I didn’t recover 100%. It’s humbling.
5. I nod, blink, and respond…a lot. When I’m in the editing stage it’s a bit freaky and underwhelming in general.
6. I don’t care about any of the above, not for too long anyway. That feels nice. Maybe I’m becoming a grown up.
What have you learned about yourself, lately? Have you been too critical of yourself?
I haven’t been able to put my finger solidly down on the reason why I haven’t enjoyed the artwork of Thomas Kinkade, the self-described “painter of light.” Until now.
If you like his work, please accept my apology. It could just be a matter of personal taste, but my dislike centers on something that maybe he has created very unintentionally. Yet, on inspection of his many works, I find something very untrue about it. Something saccharine. Something short of Truth. Do you?
This brings me to a great commentary on truth. As NT Wright says, “Truth happens”. It is not a matter of whether I speak correctly of something factual. “The table is made of wood,” for instance. In the case of corresponding evidence, for an authentic reality, we may speak what is true. But most of life doesn’t flesh out that way. Really, none of the biggest questions do.
So, perhaps, Truth is a verb.
I appreciated N. T. Wright’s thoughts on beauty and truth (see short video). I’d like to hear your thoughts about it.
How are you formed?
Here are just two ways God can form us.
See this video of a potter. At the start, the clay is just a lump. Not much to look at, little beauty, non functional, and undeveloped. Yet, because of its quality of malleability, it can be fashioned, sometimes rather quickly, into a masterpiece. A lovely, useful, handmade, creation, worth much more than an untouched lump of clay.
When the raw material is harder, more force is needed to change its form. See this case in metal working. But, remember, hammering the metal into form is most often preceded by a time in fire to soften it.
We fall into both of these categories as we develop. We have metal areas, and clay areas that need work. Which do you have more of?
God employs his Holy Spirit in whatever methods and processes are needed for that particular area of our lives. Often we need to be more softened and flexible before we are ready. For our own good, and for the good of others, God fashions us. To a certain degree we can choose the kind of raw material we give to God to recreate. When we present our hearts and minds willingly, the process of forming us into something very beautiful is a less painful and vigorous process. Sometimes, we have already presented ourselves willingly, and the suffering comes, regardless.
However, the less we surrender to the skillful, creative, loving work of God, the more time we’ll need in “the fire” to purify, refine, and prepare ourselves. In the end, God makes us so beautiful that we may hardly be recognizable.
When you are in times of great struggle, keep the end in mind. No two people will be formed in the same way. And, no trail is wasted. Our change is in the process, and our hope is in God’s final product.
It the area of “Spiritual Formation” (also called, discipleship) we may intentionally undergo practices that nurture Christ-likeness. We encounter a series of little deaths in devotion to the process at hand. We relent.
Should we be weak like wet clay, and not strong like iron? Some of that is not up to us, and much depends on how we will be used by God. If we try to be rigid like metal, God will take our kinks out, and knock of the useless parts. It’s not possible to apply a bit of hand pressure to metal, like it is to a spinning mound of clay. God may employ a mallet to get the job done. The job still needs to be done, no matter the process. God will have his way, so that we can be recreated. The longer we are rigid, the longer the process takes, even for clay.
Here’s the part I missed in my spiritual formation, until recent times: God is Good, and trustworthy. There was such a string of woe in my life, that I took God for a menace, or very drowsy. In gaining experiential, devotional, and formal training about God (which is the study of God, i.e.theology), I changed.
In a greater way, I know that though my heart may be battered, it will not be reshaped by a malicious God. The Supreme Being does not cause or let us endure suffering out of sport, or sadistic kicks.
How we see our struggles, the pain in this world (and God’s part in it (or absence in it, if the case may be), has everything to do with who we REALLY think God is, and what we REALLY believe about his core nature. Many times we attach human characteristics to God. Flawed ones. Please don’t forget this part: Those foundational beliefs we have, tell us about ourselves; and are inaccurate about God.
As in the case of Jesus (God with skin on), we see a deeply compassionate image of the Divine. An accurate image. We see amaze grace and self-sacrafice. We see God caring for us, and caring for us well. A gaze at God’s abundant creation will tell us the same thing. So, this is the true picture/reflection of God. He may let us get a pounding, but we will not be hammered in vain. Here, my friends, is our Hope.
So, imagine the best and ideal parent. (Mind, this won’t be anyone you know. This parent is not possible, in human form.) As a loving parent looks at a helpless baby, the good parent feels a sense of great responsibility and deep compassion. The idea to hurt the baby is nowhere to be found. Non existent. It is in this type of love and compassion that we are forged or molded. (Often in the Bible this is word love and compassion is translated, in English, to “loving-kindness” or “tender mercies”.)
1. What has been an area of clay that God has shaped in your life?
2. What is an area of metal that God is working on in your life?
Receiving Your Thoughts-
What stood out to you in the videos?
What do you have to contribute to thoughts about the process of sanctification? (Or, tell us your thoughts about how God helps us to mature and grow?)
Here is another (short) installment in exploring the theology of disability and the spiritual growth/development of my autistic son, Nathan (age 11) who has recently claimed that he doesn’t not believe in God (see previous posts).
Part of the spiritual formation process involves engagement with mortality; and so it does for Nathan too. The two fish Nathan caught at the lake recently died in captivity yesterday. He found this very sad. His approach to their passing was very simplistic. They stopped moving, so they are dead. As expected, he wasn’t able to delve into abstract thoughts on this, or death and life, but yet he still understood something profound had happened (see video). Something sort of normal, yet broken about the world seemed real to him. This world is a place were we can be separated from things we care about, in this case, creatures/pets.
On his own, Nathan expressed that he wanted to bury them. This seemed proper to him. The “burial at sea” choice, a.k.a. flushing his two fish friends, seemed unseemly, when I mentioned that some people bury their fish this way.
He took the jar to the garden and added the remains there himself. It was his own idea. Today he said, “[It would] provide nutrients [to the garden]“. He got a bit of a chance to learn that everything dies. I refrained from singing Elton John’s The Circle of Life song from the Lion King. But, it was a “circle of life moment” for sure. Sort of strange and sad and bewildering, yet part of regular life.
A little bit after he buried them, I told him that in heaven we can be with people who have died; people that we miss, and we won’t be separated from them forever. That’s our hope and it can help us to not be as sad. He didn’t seem to be interested, and I didn’t go into it any further. This event may soon open doors for fuller dialogue about life/existence, and the ways of life and death. And I hope redemption!
His sentiment, in general, seemed properly child-like as well as very pragmatic. It will be interesting to hear how he describes the fish, and their death to his sister after we pick her up from camp soon.
Please share your comments or ideas about this.
Question for reflection or comment. How has the death of pets shaped your spiritual formation, or those of your children?
What are your suggestions for guiding others into greater spiritual maturity with this topic at hand?
OH! one more thing. Don’t miss that really interesting look at grief through the primary lens of separation anxiety, here.
I don’t think of myself as much of a leader, but actually since I place my ideas and writing “out there,” I don’t have much of a choice in the matter. Most likely, I will, somehow, lead someone. Is this my goal? Nope. I enjoy being a galvanizer, instead. Yep, A good natured provocateur. So, really a person with some unique information, ideas, and know how that fosters and encourages good leaders and good followers (a.k.a. cooperators). As you will see, a good leader is just a looney loner, until a few key people help him or her to build momentum. As a certain kind of trust is built, it is these linchpin people who “make it happen”. I think of it as sort of the knife and needed friction on the flint that produces heat and spark.
If you’ve been faithfully reading my blog, I’d like to thank you very much. I really appreciate you, and I ask that you can help me be more than a “lone looney,” or lone loser. This funny video below will unpack that.
In some respect, we all need followers, even as much as we need to be followers. It helps to link up with people who like you and what you do. People will will invest in your growth. They transmit your message or product for you. It’s just not enough to have an idea, even a great idea. A faithful network is more important because it is the fuel to share something. I found this video on Guy Kawasaki site alltop.com. It’s from the TED conference. Derek Sivers, of CD Baby fame, delivers a great and useful message.
Questions to ask yourself: Who am I helping by following and building a bridge of trust to other followers?
Who can I partner with who understands the importance of both leading and following?
Who needs to hear my message?
Who’s message do I enjoy hearing?
So, let’s help each other. Let’s build momentum. Who do you follow, and what kind of followers to you need? Let us know.
The exhilarating feeling of being asked to teach Worldviews at my alma mater has been replaced by more of a sinking feeling. So, I’ve gone from Professor to Gilligan before teaching even one class.
I think it will go just fine…but getting from here to there with 3 days preparation time will be reminiscent of crunch time during final exams.
Will you please pray for me? Seriously.
Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll share some of what my class will be learning. (Okay, I admit, I like how the words “my class” sound.)
First a definition: What is worldview?
A worldview is a working theory of reality, used for living in the world. It is a framework of ideas, beliefs, attitudes about the world, others, God (whether you believe in him or don’t) ourselves, and life. It includes a comprehensive system of beliefs — with answers for a wide range of questions.
We all have a worldview, but many of us have never really examined it, or thought about it, all by itself, and in contrast to worldviews of other generations, cultures, and religions. Our worldviews collide. Watching one segment of bickering at Fox News will tell you that. By our worldview we come to understand our values, on a quest for truth.
It is said that the worldview of modernity could be (generally) comprised of the years 1789 (Storming of Bastille) to the Fall of the Berlin Wall 1989. We now live in a time of transition which some term postmodernity or hypermodernity. The predominant hallmark of the era being the underlying assumption that ”Truth is ‘…a mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms…’ “. A.k.a Truth is different for you than it is for me (relative truth). Or, Truth is what you think truth is.
In our times, Science is questioned or discarded as the supplier and authority of truth with the common conviction that objective truth may or may not exist. Therefore, truth is inaccessible due to the nature of one’s personal standpoint of all knowledge claims.
CASE IN POINT:
Witness the decades long “4 out of 5 Dentists recommend Trident gum” advertising campaign? (This one below is from 1971.) What seems strange about it (Besides the weird hairdos and peculiar music)?
NOW-Here’s how the same company sells gum to people with a postmodern worldview (2008).
Which commercial makes you want to buy their gum?
For those of you who’d like to follow a bit more closely, read Part I of Nancy Pearcey’s bookTotal Truth.
Self-test: Is the Holy Spirit like a York Peppermint Patty?
Some of you won’t remember the goofy York Peppermint Patty commercials of long ago, but thanks to the marvel of technology, you can view a couple retro ad pieces right now to either refresh your memory, or thank God you were not routinely subjected to such silliness.
After you watch the short video, have some fun and take this self-test to see how you score.
Answer true or false, and add up your scores.
1. When you hear the word “Holy Ghost” you get “shivers.” (You prefer the less weird term “Holy Spirit.”)
2. Spiritual things are sometimes what you would call “spine-tingling”.
3. When eating minty candy, sometimes you feel a cool draft, or get a bit of a chill.
4. Watching shows like Ghost Hunters is fairly tempting.
5. You like to say “God bless you” when others sneeze–and now that you think of it, a dry and powerful sneeze seems practically other-worldly. (A wet one is just plain gross.)
6. If chocolate was served instead of bread at Communion, you would look forward to going to church more often.
7. The idea of dressing up as the Holy Ghost has never crossed your mind, yet you realize drinking some milk when eating chocolate makes sense.
8. If it were not sacrilegious, or highly odd, you could imagine the Holy Ghost (or Spirit) as a good choice for the pitchman for York Peppermint Patty and saying, “Get the (cool) sensation,” in a dry humor sort of way.
9. You can imagine Jesus eating and enjoying a York Peppermint Patty.
(Perhaps you can relate to this scenario: If you had two, and if he was physically there, you would give him one. If you had one, you would split it, but maybe you would have a brief conflict of conscience thinking of hiding it, or not mentioning it. After realizing that he would know anyways you would hope he wouldn’t mind if you kept the whole thing. Maybe you’d look at him in the eyes to check for a “knowing look,” after you averted eye contact for a little bit, first.)
10. You are finding that something simple like a York Peppermint Patty can somehow remind you of God, and yet make you a bit hungry for candy at the same time.
If you got more than 5 True answers you have made an irrevocable connection between a minty chocolate treat and one, or more, of the three persons of God. Use this connection wisely. It may help integrate your spirituality and draw you into a more intimate relationship with God, in everyday ways. On the other hand, you could get terribly fat filling a huge spiritual void with empty calories, and go to hell in the process.
Okay, I’m not really sure about that last part, but I do think something could go wrong in this whole setup, I’m just not completely sure what. And also, the test really isn’t scientific, in case you were wondering.
If you had fun, got a laugh, were the least bit amused, or even got mad, please tell a few people to drop by and visit to take the self-test for themselves. Then, they’ll get their own sensation.
Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.
-Lisa, peppermint patty lover, God lover, and putting on the pounds with various chocolates.
When I first saw this video below, I cried. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr3x_RRJdd4]
It showed me the power of offering connection and love. The largely untapped, healing power of embrace–which connotes acceptance–seems to be too absent today. The distance between us grows, even though technology has supposedly drawn us together.
by Charlie Mackesy
by Frank Wesley
Luke 15:20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”
If you would, please response here, and explain your feelings about embrace, or any reactions you had to this post, the video, or the artwork. Thank you.
An idea for plumbing deeper:
Bring these pictures to mind the next time you pray, and speak about them to God, honestly. If you have fears, joy, sorrow, gratitude, or other feelings, express them, using this theme as a vehicle to interact in your next intimate time with the Lover of your soul.