Movements of The Spirit
We see what we focus on. In gymnastics, the body follows the head — a tumbler can’t do a back flip without looking back. On the farm, the tractor plows where the driver is looking. Over the last few years, each week my wife Debbie and I have done a five-part “spiritual check-in” to strengthen our spiritual lives. In our check-in, we focus on things like “time in the word” or “overcoming temptations.” But one of the five that’s been stirring me the most is “movements of the Spirit,” where we notice how the Holy Spirit may be guiding us in our lives and do our best to act on the Spirit’s promptings. And because we’re focusing on movements on the Spirit, I’m noticing that I’m experiencing them more often.
In recent years, one of the Spirit’s major leadings for me was the awareness that it was time for me to leave the church that I had been leading for 30-plus years. A huge part of me was not ready to leave that work. But over several months, God helped me to see that there was fatigue in my own heart and the church I loved needed fresh energy and leadership. God’s Spirit helped me to sense my own spirit and moved me on.
In my new role as a hospital chaplain, the main way that I meet God is sensing the Spirit move me as I make my rounds. I remember one late night. I was tired and ready to go home. As I was preparing to leave, I saw a woman outside the surgery area. She was leaning against the wall, phone in hand, and there were tears running down her cheeks. She didn’t see me. I could have easily headed down the stairs and been on my way. But God’s Spirit clearly said, “Stop.” So I did. And what followed was a brief and tender conversation. The Spirit used me to support this frightened lady whose mother was in emergency surgery. Instead of going home tired and weary, I left the hospital energized by the Spirit moving me.
The sense of God’s Spirit guiding me like this often happens at the end of my shift, when I have limited time and wait on God’s Spirit to direct me to a room. Amazing visits follow. Six weeks ago and late on a Friday night, I wondered about sneaking in one more visit and chose to knock on a door in our heart unit. On the placard on the wall, I saw that the man liked to be called “Dub.” The name seemed strange to me, but it also seemed familiar. I greeted the man. And, briefly glancing down at my patient list, I could see that his full name was “Robert W. Boyd.” And then it hit me. About 47 years ago, that very Robert W. Boyd, or “Dub” as he preferred, led me to Christ when my life was in shambles as I tried to cope with the pain of two alcoholic parents. My faith journey began that July. The following September, I drove up to Westcliffe, CO to visit Dub, where he was pastoring a small church. That was many years ago. I had not seen or talked to him since — until God’s Spirit led me to his room late that night. We both cried our way through a 40-minute visit and celebrated how God’s Spirit had moved us years ago.
Last night I had a really difficult conversation with my son. I awoke praying for him and wondering who might help me. The Spirit moved me to reach out to my good friend Mike. In my brief call with Mike, God’s Spirit gave me what I most needed–the words to speak the deep love I have for my son just as he is. In my brief call with Mike, God’s Spirit gave me what I most needed – he words to speak the deep love I have for my son just as he is.
After years of being the “boss,” I’m not used to having a boss. I’m often frustrated with how Steve is leading our Spiritual Care Department. But God’s Spirit is moving me to shrug my shoulders at what I cannot change and simply go see patients.
For years as a pastor, I met God most often through studying the Bible. Now I encounter God through the surprising, mysterious ways that the Spirit of God directs me.
This next week, I challenge you to focus on “movements of the Spirit” and notice what you see and sense.
- Perhaps God will move you to let go of your “to do list” and go help a neighbor or your grown daughter.
- Perhaps God will guide you to surprise your wife with lunch out or surprise your son by driving to an “away” game to see him play.
God’s Spirit is everywhere, always working. Focus on this and notice the Spirit moving you:
- How does the Spirit move you?
- Look back a few weeks and celebrate how God’s Spirit has led you.
- This week, watch each day for the Spirit’s leading.
By John Casey
John completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2005, is a graduate of our two-year transformational program and is a weekend leader for The Crucible Project. He enjoys writing about authentic living for men. As a senior pastor for 32 years, he has written and preached hundreds of sermons on God’s character and mission, our purpose and mission, spiritual transformation and effective relationships.
Photo Credit: Tristan Bowersox (via Creative Commons)