Relationship, Curiosity, and Emptiness
Our second feature Friday post is from our (Liza & Leah) cousin's wife. Does that make her our cousin-in-law? She and our cousin Todd live in Boston and work for CRU on various campuses around the area. They met at Babson School of Business and are now working in ministry- talk about a radical vocation shift! About a year and a half ago she had the opportunity to go by herself to the School of Spiritual Direction with Larry Crabb. As the mom of 2 young boys and my wily cousin for a husband, she had so many wonderfully life-giving things to say about this week. So...without further ado, Meet Tara.
This probably won’t be the most concise letter I’ve written, but I suppose that’s because so much of it involves an incredible amount of mystery. Being at Larry Crabb's School of Spiritual Direction was such a rich time for me; it was so full of teaching and connecting relationally that it’s a daunting task to share simply what the most meaningful takeaways were. However, the three words that stand out to me are relationship, curiosity, and emptiness.
Dr. Crabb began by teaching us about Perichoresis, which he explained was the dance of the Trinity, moving toward one another in others-centered love, caring for one another even at great cost to themselves. We see this being lived out in the life of Jesus; the way He loved was radically others-centered and cost His life. What does it look like for us to live and love like this (imperfectly on this earth) and release more of who God is into this world as we relate to one another? I can't say I have the answer to these questions, rather it’s given me so much more to process and to ask that the Holy Spirit would guide me.
Another theme throughout the week was how to engage in meaningful conversations. One of the components of meaningful conversations is a genuine curiosity, which Dr. Crabb believes is a lost art. I began to see that being curious requires the Holy Spirit; it is being radically others-centered and curious in my listening. Through this we become aware of mystery in each others' souls that slows us down, leading us to depend on the Lord and recognize our inadequacy in relating. When this happens, we don't try to control the conversations, fix everyone's problems or find opportunities to share how insightful we (as the listeners) are.
The attitude of wanting to know another at any cost to myself can be uncomfortable for me (which may include feelings of not knowing what to say, etc.). An element of spiritual directing, in Dr. Crabb's opinion, is curiously listening and noticing where God is working in the lives of others and drawing that out.
Dr. Crabb helped me see that sin is rooted in the thought that God is not good. We revise Christianity to fit our managed life (with us in control). We reduce God to principles we can follow to get the life we want. When the principles don't seem to get us what we want (i.e. I've tried to follow God as best I could, yet He isn't giving me the desires of my heart - a spouse, a job, friendship, reconciliation with our child, etc.), we enter the Wounded Life. Life isn't turning out as we hoped, and it doesn't feel good, so we want God to make us feel differently. Our main concern is making the pain go away. When we are living either of these ways we are stuck in the smaller stories of our lives. However God is inviting us into something more - He has a larger story that we can take part in, despite our circumstances. Often we can only see this when we hit a point of emptiness and brokenness, finally admitting the control of our lives isn't working, and submitting to His greater story.
God's story begins in eternity past. Without the relationship of the Trinity, God becomes just power. With the Trinity, love in relationship becomes central, and His power becomes love. The imminent Trinity is love and cares for others at great cost to Himself. This is something I'm invited to partake in, no matter how my smaller story is unfolding. This is experiencing the abundant life Jesus talked about in John 10:10 - not circumstantial blessings - God isn't committed to those. His eyes are set on higher things, calling us to thirst for spiritual blessings in Him that are eternal.
There is much more for me to think through after my week there and a lot more I need to process at a heart level. Thank you for praying for my time there! I'm so thankful I was able to go!
About the author: Tara Humphreys is a wife and mom of an all boy family living in Boston, MA in an intentional community set up in a 3 story brownstone. They work for CRU at various campuses around the city. You can support them here and further correspondance at firstname.lastname@example.org.