Spacious Attentiveness

During Leadership Transformations recent celebration of our 8th Anniversary, we held an event entitled “Re-Ignited: Kindling Our Inner Fire for God.” During one of the plenary sessions I spoke about “Feeding the Neglected Soul,” and suggested five inviting ways we can nurture our souls.
The first way we feed our neglected soul is to open ourselves fully to receive the abundance of our Heavenly Father’s loving embrace (blog entry 11.18.11).
The second way I suggested is to trust in the Spirit to create from deep within us a transformative walk of faith (blog entry 11.28.11).
Thirdly, we feed our soul by leaning fully into the manifold gifts of Sabbath (blog entry 12.12.11).

And fourthly, we feed our soul by practicing life-giving spiritual disciplines in order to become more spaciously attentive to God. Jesus himself maintained such openness to the Father throughout his earthly ministry. He also invited his disciples to follow in his footsteps and do likewise. “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31) he called, in anticipation of showing compassion on the crowds and miraculously feeding the 5,000.

The spiritual disciplines are means by which we experience the richness of the grace of God. They open us up to the wider possibilities of love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and service to others. The disciplines remind us about the “one thing” that matters most, our intimacy with God, out of which we give our lives away in Jesus’ name.

As you consider for yourself what spiritual disciplines are most life giving to your soul (of which there are dozens to choose from), let me encourage you in a small handful of ways:

a) In your prayer closet, always begin with the Word of God. Contemplatively receive the Word in a slow and deep read, embracing every word as a gift from the Father.
b) In your prayer chair, listen for the voice of the Spirit whispering in the ear of your heart. In your prayers, purposefully shift away from doing all the talking to God and tip the scale more toward listening for his still small voice.
c) In your prayer chamber, reflect on your life in Christ. Consider ways God’s faithfulness has been previously exhibited in your life and give thanks. Deem ways you can reflect the love of Jesus in the coming day(s) and walk forward faithfully and intentionally.

In the midst of a busy life, be reminded today to prioritize the care and nurture of your soul. Begin your day in that quiet place of biblical receptivity, listening prayer, and faithful reflection. As you become more spaciously attentive to God, may your soul be nourished by his empowering presence and peace.

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.