How Do I Know? Who Can Help?

In response to my last blog post, I received a query that was very specific to some questions we all wrestle with. Here is the question:

You wrote, “It is a life long journey to grow in receiving the Father’s love, to learn to drink deep draughts of the Father’s love.” How does one receive the Father’s love, and how does one know when this is truly happening?

….How does one find a spiritual mentor old enough to understand where I am in life?…..I’d like to find someone besides my wife to share deeply with, but have found it hard to find someone I could trust.

There are two key questions herein:

How do I know I am receiving God’s love?

How do I find a spiritual mentor to walk with me in this journey?

Let’s take each of these questions one at a time as I sense they are common to us all.

How do I know I am receiving God’s love?

First, it is essential to define some terms. When we speak of love we are not only speaking of an emotion or a feeling.

The Apostle John instructs us that God is love. Love is a Person. What this reminds us of is that God is not merely doling out experiences of love, joy or peace. He is giving himself to us. This is a relationship

What he yearns for is for us to know him. In knowing him, we will know his love.

But how do I know?

Second, let us consider our response. Granted, this is a subjective dynamic. All relationships entail elements of subjectivity – how we experience another.

What God asks of us is not to try harder, do better, do more….He simply asks us to trust him. This is a simple act of faith. He says he is love. He says that his Spirit is constantly spreading abroad within us his love (Romans 5:5). He asks us to trust that he is in fact doing that regardless of what we feel.

Personally, I seldom have any sense of a transaction taking place. Yet, I have grown, or he has grown me, to trust that he is doing what he promises to do even if I do not sense it. The cumulative affect is that over decades I am far more at rest in his care and love than ever before. He is loving me – his life is constantly overflowing into mine. I can rest in that reality.

God is always active within and around us. Discernment of that reality comes differently to all of us. This is largely an unseen spiritual dynamic. Thus the invitation to trust.

Third, we have to acknowledge that all of us are handicapped in receiving and extending love. Each of us have been hurt and have hurt others in relationship. God’s sanctification of us is the life-long process of maturing us in his love. For some of us – due to personality, life story, and other reasons – sensing his love will come more naturally. For others of us, it will be a true stretch – we will always struggle to know that we know that we are being loved.

God knows us well. He is aware of when and with what we struggle. He is patient and kind. He is not driving us. He is gently drawing us.

What pleasure we bring to God when we simply trust him, regardless of feelings, that he is who he says he is and is doing what he says he is doing.

A common prayer of mine is for God to teach me his ways that I may grow in sensitivity to his inner workings in me and around me. He is eager to do that for us.

Be aware that the enemy’s primary desire is to distract and discourage. Discouragement can be a significant temptation, especially as we age. Resist this temptation. Don’t look within yourself. Look to him and trust him. This may not be a satisfying answer, yet it is the way God has set up our walk with him.

How do I find a spiritual mentor to walk with me in this journey?

Essential to this growth process is having others to journey with. Often others see God’s activity within us before we do.

Peers are essential, of course. Moreover, we need spiritual guides. Someone whose role in our life is to watch and listen with and for us. I find that having someone reflect back to me what they are hearing and seeing in me is invaluable.

A spiritual director is ideal. A spiritual director focuses his or her efforts on listening with the directee as to God’s presence and activity in the directee’s life.

It is true that as we age it is harder to find someone further down the path to guide us. Sometimes that ideal of an older guide can be set aside as God provides someone close to our age or even younger.

There are growing numbers of directors across the country and internationally.

Within North America here are some key spiritual director listings:

Evangelical Spiritual Directors Association

Selah Spiritual Formation

Fall Creek Abby

Sustainable Faith

If you know of other entities internationally, please send those to me and I will add them to the list.

Key to finding a director is to interview them. Set up a call or meeting for a 30 minute talk. Ask them questions you are curious about. If you have never met with a director tell them and ask them to explain the process. Settle on someone, give it a try for 3 months, and then evaluate. Don’t give up searching though. This is too valuable a practice to shrug one’s shoulders and not keep pursuing.

Be prepared that there will be a fee. This is money well invested.

I hope this provides a start to these real life questions. Please send a response if you have other questions or additional helps to share with others. Thanks!

This entry was posted in Living Wisely, Personal Vitality, Resources and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Do I Know? Who Can Help?

  1. timothys5 says:

    These questions look familiar 😊.
    Your responses are very helpful.


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