Week Nine – Justice and the Inner Life

CAFO Course Forums OVC Essentials – 2018 Winter Week Nine – Justice and the Inner Life

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    • #31938
      Leah St. Pierre
      CAFO Staff

      What new or reinforced commitments do you take away from this week? What spiritual practices will you incorporate into your life and work? Describe any other ways that you felt God encouraging or moving you this week in regards to your inner life in Christ being the wellspring from which your ministry and commitment to the fatherless flow from?

      OR

      How have you personally experienced the connection between your inner life in Christ and God’s call to do justice in the world? How have you experienced the opposite – a lack of connection to Christ leading to lesser or ineffective engagement in “doing justice and loving mercy”?

    • #32435
      Jessica Rush
      Participant

      Over the past few weeks, God has really placed a desire on my heart to work in foster care which is not something I have ever wanted to do. As I think about the daunting task of possibly working for DHR, it can be overwhelming to imagine the situations and families I will encounter and how it will effect me. This week has been encouraging to me because I was reminded that our rest, strength, competency etc. comes from Christ so when I make time daily to be in His presence, He will sustain me through the good, the bad and the ugly! I know that when I look back on times in my life when I was diligent about spending time in the Word and in prayer, my life was more at peace and the troubles I encountered did not seem so daunting but when I think about times where I prioritized sleep over prayer or time with friends over time with God, my life was much more chaotic. This week has been convicting and encouraging all at the same time!

      • #32490
        meghan rivard
        Participant

        Jessica, I absolutely agree that this week’s information has been convicting and encouraging all at the same time. Nothing is too hard for God and he will be our sustainer. it was a wake up call to me to remember this daily. Even when I think I’m too busy, there needs to always be time for prayer and for God.

      • #32515
        openarms
        Participant

        Hi Jessica,

        How incredible that you’re listening and hearing God’s call in your life! I love how you expressed it, how your times in God’s Word and presence made the troubles seem less daunting. For me, it’s easy to fall into a habit of believing troubles should disappear when I’m in God’s will – when in reality, staying close to Him just means He shoulders the load with me, helping me bear the challenges I face with His strength. Thanks for that reminder today!

        Blessings,

        Laura

    • #32491
      meghan rivard
      Participant

      Gary’s message really hit home to me. I loved how he made rest and quiet time a priority, even with the craziness of running a large company. I loved how his agency made a priority for time in the morning and lunch to come together and to pray. I feel that is so important and has to refocus their minds for the day and rest of the day. We, or at least I do, make excuses that there is not enough time in the day to get everything done. But what is more important than talking to God, and having him lead you in your day? Taking just a few minutes can refocus and even make you more productive in your work hours. it was a call to me and showed me that it is possible, you just need to make the time and prioritize.

      Also, Ruth stated that solitude is so important because God is the only one that can truly replenish us and God gave us Sabbath as a gift. This was a great reminder to me to refocus and make this a priority, no matter how “busy” I am.

      • #32565
        Kaitlyn Stutts
        Participant

        Hi Meghan,

        I definitely agree with you that it is so important to prioritize that time with God throughout the day. If a plan is not made to focus on God, often times there will be other things that grab our attention. I liked how you pointed out that taking a few minutes to refocus can also increase our productivity. I have experienced that in my job at times, after dealing with a difficult resident, that taking a few minutes to listen to an encouraging song really brings my attention back around to what matters and allows me to continue my work. Refocusing and prioritizing my attention and actions are something I am also going to do as a result of this weeks content.

      • #32793
        Jessica Rush
        Participant

        Megan, I too am guilty of making excuses or justifying why I don’t have time to be in Scripture or prayer daily..it’s definitely encouraging to know that I am not the only one! I’m thankful for God’s grace on the days we don’t follow through and I am challenged to make this a priority in my own life!

    • #32516
      openarms
      Participant

      This week was a good reminder for me to get “back to the basics.” It’s so easy to start something new with excitement, especially if it’s a spiritual practice, then have my enthusiasm fade as life becomes overwhelming. Lately, I’ve been feeling close to burnout in a few areas of life, including work. Taking time off started feeling like a guilty pleasure or a luxury I couldn’t afford. Honestly, I felt lazy! Which meant I didn’t enjoy the downtime I had.

      This week reminded me of the importance of recommitting myself to regular periods of rest. I felt convicted of the way my busyness is so tied to my self-identity – how I wear my exhaustion as a badge of honor. I think it shows a type of pridefulness, that I think God can’t do this work without me. This week reminded me to practice humility, to lay down my idol of productivity, and to reevaluate my life to cultivate habits of rest that feed my relationship with Christ instead of my contributions to the world.

      • #32569
        Alexis Martens
        Participant

        I absolutely agree with the experience of downtime feeling like I am being lazy. It has been a dangerous lie that this busy society has fed us. One of my favorite contents from this week was the article by Jedd Medefind in saying that, “Worse than quitting is persisting in giving without love.” What I took from this applies to your idea of wearing exhaustion as a badge of honor by saying that living in such an exhausted state does not allow us to truly allow us to glorify our all deserving God in the way that we could. When I am exhausted, I know it is a lot harder for me to be the light on this earth for others that I know God placed me here to be. Thank you for reminding me that wearing exhaustion like a badge of honor is a lie that I can no longer live by.

      • #32644
        Lis Doane
        Participant

        I really related to your statement about “wearing exhaustion as a badge of honor”.  I too have often made productivity my idol, relying on my own strength and capabilities, to bring about the outcomes I desire.  Your post was a good reminder for me that my focus always needs to be, first and foremost, on my relationship with Christ, not on my contributions to our ministry.

    • #32564
      Kaitlyn Stutts
      Participant

      The content from this week was so refreshing and provided a chance to focus on what is most important. I think so many people experience burnout in caring and serving for vulnerable children because there is not enough focus on self-care. As a social work student, I hear over and over again that self-care is so important to work in the field. This week’s content really brought that to life and I think provided practical applications on how to incorporate spiritual practices into my life and work. Christ is the only way to truly remain committed to the ministry of OVC care, without the burnout. Even if it’s a 15 minute prayer in the car on the way to a client, the spiritual practices will be what sustains OVC care. I truly believe it is difficult, if not impossible, to care for and help others if you are not also caring for yourself. The content from this week just really encouraged me to find practical applications of renewing my inner life and connection to God as the sustaining source of OVC care.

      • #32827
        Natalie Cormier
        Participant

        Prayer is such a key part! Have you ever taken the time to just pray about everything that you are worrying about? Sometimes I write a letter to God which is a bit easier, but finding time to really communicate with God allows me personally to refresh my spirit and find rest in him.

    • #32568
      Alexis Martens
      Participant

      The timing of this week’s content was God sent. As a student, I am coming to the end of my semester and with this reminder to take Sabbath and moments of silence, I am already experiencing the calm within the storm. We have the best advocate and helper within the holy spirit, and I must remember to draw for the overflowing strength.

      The simple truth that “I am not alone,” and the humbling reminder that if justice and good really did depend upon my own strength, it would fail. This work is so much bigger than me, I draw from God to do His work. I am only the vessel. This makes me smile because it reminds me to take the self-centered mindset of “I need to do this” and brings it back to “Lord let your will be done” and I am only a servant.

      • #32599
        Brittany Dealy
        Participant

        Alexis, that is so encouraging to hear! I love that this is something you are getting to incorporate into your life, as a student! I hope that it becomes a natural way of life for you, in that you just get to have these intimate quiet times with the Lord from here on out!

        Thank you for sharing!

      • #32701
        Lindsey Hughes
        Participant

        I, too, am a student and will be graduating in May. With all of the commotion and change that comes along with this new season of life, I have felt so overwhelmed and, honestly, a little bit discouraged – BUT God has been so kind to me and has gently reminded me that I need to take time to be still and rest in His sovereignty. Thanks for sharing what you felt the Holy Spirit saying to you this week – I found it to be so encouraging and confirming of what I’ve felt as well.

    • #32598
      Brittany Dealy
      Participant

      What new or reinforced commitments do you take away from this week? What spiritual practices will you incorporate into your life and work? Describe any other ways that you felt God encouraging or moving you this week in regards to your inner life in Christ being the wellspring from which your ministry and commitment to the fatherless flow from?

      – I really enjoyed Gary Haugen’s interview, and the transformation the he allowed God to bring their ministry through. I would love to commit to some of the spiritual practices that he has ‘enforced’ corporately. I also felt convicted about Sabbath, (referencing an excerpt from Upended, by Jedd) … but in a way that feels exciting to take on. Jedd had shared a little about how his family would honor Sabbath, and it felt so achievable in the way he described it.

      -I used to work for a much larger ministry than I am today, and they also had some corporate initiated prayer groups, worship groups, chapel… that I don’t have where I am today. I know that if I asked my supervisor, she would most definitely encourage something like that in my work week. The problem is, I am alone in the office most of the time, so it wouldn’t be community/fellowship based; but I will be able to do a quiet time, alone with the Lord easily every week. Time to slow down and focus on the Lord. 🙂

      • #32788
        Courtney Schmidt
        Participant

        Hi Brittany,

        I can relate to what you said about working alone but that you can at least incorporate a quiet time. I am currently the only employee in my area because they hired me to help launch a new branch in my area and the main office is 2 hrs away. However, prayer is a big part of the ministry so spending some time in the Word and prayer before starting work is a great idea.

    • #32643
      Lis Doane
      Participant

      This week just brought home to me, once again, the unique difference between “good works” and a “ministry”. I came to Christ later in my life. I had, by that time, spent much of my life doing what most people would consider “good works”. After I accepted Christ, I continued doing “good works” and I invited Christ in. As designing and implementing projects was my career, I approached my ministry in a very similar way, with certain outcomes expected. Much to my surprise , Christ had a very different idea of where we were headed and what the outcomes would be! I began to realize that a “ministry” was very different than “good works”, with very unexpected outcomes. I never was able to anticipate the wonderful way that Christ would take the ministry and I began to pray in a very different manner. I stopped praying for certain outcomes and instead began to pray that I would not get in the way of Christ’ plans. I realized that my job was not to manage and control the ministry, but to simply create and implement a structure in which Christ could do His work. The outcomes were never what I had planned or expected but they were always amazing. Putting Christ in the driver’s seat is the essential difference between “good works” and a “ministry”. It is not enough just to invite Him in; you have to let Him drive! Letting go of your own plans and expectations, and surrendering to His will is what ministry is all about. And it is such a gift to stand back and watch Him work!

      • #32963
        Kaari Vasquez
        Participant

        Thank you for sharing this comparison between ‘good works’ and ‘ministry.’ How important it is to remember this difference as we can so easily slip into taking control rather than letting God take the lead.

    • #32700
      Lindsey Hughes
      Participant

      I think that the thing that resonated with me the most this week was the emphasis placed on sabbath. In social work, self-care is preached constantly but few workers actually make it a practice, leading to the high levels of burnout that we see in the field. In his talk, Jedd stated that keeping a sabbath is a discipline – a choice made weekly to devote to spending time resting and in communion with the Lord. It is so hard sometimes to slow down and accept the call of God to “be still,” but it is vital to our longevity and ability to be fruitful and effective in the work that God has called us to do. I’ve always struggled with the idea of being still because I’ve felt like there is something I could be doing that would be productive, but this week just confirmed some things for me that I’ve been feeling for a while. So, going forward, I will be intentional about taking time to be still – physically and in my spirit – and just be with God.

    • #32787
      Courtney Schmidt
      Participant

      This week’s material was a refreshing reminder about the importance of spending time with God and resting. It is hard to take time away to really slow down and rest. I’ve talked with my husband about us setting aside Sundays (as much as possible) for a day of rest and fun. I would like to make Sundays a rest day that also focuses on hanging out with friends. In our culture, relationships aren’t always prioritized and I really think taking the time to be in community and have good friendships is a huge part of self-care. Since I will be on-call as a pregnancy counselor, there may be times on a Sunday that I have to respond to an incoming crisis call or go to the hospital after a mom has her baby to make an adoption plan. However, these can be the exceptions and the model for life can be to make Sunday a rest day. In my role, those won’t happen all the time.

    • #32936
      Emily Evans
      Participant

      I personally gained a lot more from this week than I originally thought. When I saw it was on Justice and the Inner life, I didn’t know what it meant exactly. Ruth Haley Bartons Podcast on the importance of silence and solitude really touched me. Her point “The best thing you can bring to leadership is a transforming soul” I absolutely love this and the truth behind it really set in my soul. If i want to help lift others up and lead them closer to Christ’s calling for them, I need to be actively in the Word and spending time with the Lord to transform myself. Gary Haugen discussed the importance of spending alone time with God to hear his voice and allow him to be our strength throughout the day. We must be filled up with him so we can overflow into others.

    • #32964
      Kaari Vasquez
      Participant

      In life, we all experience different seasons…some tend to be more full than others – creating more of a challenge to set time aside. I loved the reminder of how it is in these times that Christ demonstrated to us how our need for time alone with him is even greater.

      It is so easy to get caught up in all the ‘doing’ and to then lose focus on the WHY. I am sure I have missed out on countless opportunities to share Christ with others because of this distraction. What a gift to listen and read about so many practical ways to put into practice what God intended for us since day one.

    • #33100
      Emma MacDougall
      Participant

      One thing that I really took away from this week was the importance of knowing why you’re doing something rather than what you’re doing. Being a full-time college student, leading a Bible study, being a part of a campus ministry, and leading an OVC club/ministry it can be easy to get caught up in just doing it all and not focusing on why I am doing it and how I can glorify the Lord in all of it. Something that I have been interested in is working in OVC care internationally when I graduate and that has only continued to grow through this course. This week however I learned that I need to put an emphasis on waiting and growing where God has me now rather than rushing into things just to do them.

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