Our faith is tested every day. Whether in big, traffic-stopping ways or small, conscience-niggling ways, we are faced with opportunities every single day to either lean into the Holy Spirit or lean away from him. Each of us, of course, knows the choice we want to make, but we also know that sometimes the choice to lean on the Spirit can be a challenge.
In a recent Open Door Policy episode, featured guest Curtis Simpson Jr., Director of Chrsitian Service at Corpus Christi Parish, shared three ways to deeply lean on the Holy Spirit and allow him to change not only our lives, but the lives of those around us.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
So much of humanity lies in dispelling or preventing discomfort as best we can. We take a Tylenol when we feel a headache coming on, we make small talk with new people to avoid “awkward silences.” We hope for the best but prepare for the worst, and we try to anticipate any and all obstacles so we can determine how we’ll handle them if they arise. We keep our hands in the mix and try to control as many variable elements of our lives as we can.
But so much of discipleship means wearing our heart — and the heart of Jesus — on our sleeves. Being a disciple requires us to lean into the vulnerability of faith. It’s not only hearing God’s promise of great plans for us, but believing it, understanding it and trusting in it. This seems counterintuitive to our natural inclination, but by embracing the discomfort of vulnerability, of differences between ourselves and our neighbors, we are truly relying on the Lord.
When we’re at our most uncomfortable, we have no choice but to lean on the Holy Spirit to become comfortable. And when we’re fully leaning on the Holy Spirit, God is at his best. According to Curtis, “Those moments, when we allow ourselves to be open, the Spirit will pour into us things that will change the fabric of people’s lives. That will change the atmosphere forever. And it’ll all be because we’re open and we’re comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
Know your role and live it out.
God equips those he calls to carry out his mission; if we are struggling to preach, perhaps it’s because we’re really meant to pray for those who preach! Evangelization is not a one-size-fits-all tool. Each of us shares the Gospel in different ways. Each of us has specific gifts — whether they’re gifts of preaching, intercessory prayer, evangelical charity, accompaniment — that allow us to spread the love of God. These gifts are not just natural talents; they are charisms given specifically from the Holy Spirit to help each of us fulfill our divine purpose.
“If everybody plays their role, like a symphony orchestra, it comes together beautifully,” as Curtis says. Spend time in prayer to discern what your role is, what it means for you to evangelize. Visit a spiritual director or participate in a discernment workshop to discover what your charisms are and how you can use them to live out the role that God has intended for you as his disciple.
Be open in the everyday things.
Once you’ve established this openness and docility to the Spirit, pay special attention to his movement in your life. Often we expect signs from God to be lightning bolts or visitations in dreams — clear, grand productions that stop us in our tracks. But the Lord is working in your everyday life, so look for him! Get to know what the Lord sounds like and be open to how he’s speaking to you and using you every single day.
“It’s not always about the people who are sitting on the top of the mountain and preaching,” says Curtis, “What it’s about is those interpersonal, real relationships. Those things are the ones that matter the most, because that makes people change. We can’t change the world. We can start by doing one person, one family, one child at a time.”
God has chosen each and every one of us for this mission. He knows our innermost being and how each of us can be in best service of the Gospel. He’s sharing this with us through the Holy Spirit, and this vulnerability, willingness and openness to hear and be moved by him can change our lives and better equip us to bring others to Jesus’ love and saving grace.