I had a phone call with “Miriam” today. She has been on a journey for a while and had some ministry to her spirit here and there, but was stuck with the Mercy portion. There was significant woundedness in the past but the person she was working with had done a decent job of patching that up some months ago.
The pressing problem was that Miriam was not able to connect with God in a way that produced a response. She loves Him intensely, but does not feel she is connecting with Him with the Mercy portion of her spirit.
With that preamble, I asked Mercy if she would engage with me and the answer was an immediate, gentle, “Yes.”
I asked how full of life or empty she was. Half full. I asked if anything was siphoning life from her at this time. No.
The purpose of those questions was to see if we were looking at a significant woundedness or devouring at this time. Neither appeared to shout. That suggested then that Miriam needs to unpack her design and find out how God wants to engage with her so she does not stick Him in some inappropriate pigeon hole.
To test that theory, I asked her what she did that wasn’t working: Bible reading and prayer every morning. She said it is a little more life giving than it used to be, but didn’t really lead to intimacy.
So I proposed that the normal religious exercises were fine, beneficial for other things, but were clearly not where God wanted to meet Mercy, which is why He didn’t respond to her in those exercises.
Moving then to design, I asked her what role she had in Miriam’s daily life, since Mercy is not her primary soul gift. Quite clearly, Mercy does nurture. We built out some suggestions for how she could broaden the role of nurture in her life, but then went on to other things.
I floated the possibility that she might engage with God in nature. Immediate tears (that means YES!) Scrolled through topography, vegetation and animal kingdom. Got some definition.
Forest trails in the mountains and cows. The cows were from a distance — enjoying watching them graze in a field. I suggested that cows tend to be some of the most grounded creatures around. If she ever got a chance to be in a barn with them in a stall, try going up to one, leaning against its big, solid, peaceful side and asking God if He wanted to join her there.
Dabbled in topography a bit more and the tree line against blue skies stood out as hugely nourishing to Mercy. Since she doesn’t live in Hawaii and the skies are not always blue where she is now, I suggested that Mercy spend some time every Sabbath looking for blue sky pictures, trying to refine the very center of the sweet spot that nourishes her, and then make plans for the future to allocate prime time on her Sabbath to drive out of the city to places where she can feast her eyes and fill Mercy’s spirit with that visual/spiritual experience.
I asked about sound. Worship music only rarely connects. I played a hunch here and suggested she listen to three minutes of Colin Urquhart’s teaching. I said she didn’t need to focus on the content, just see if the spiritual structures on his sound ministered to Mercy. Regardless, she should invest some time every Sabbath surfing the preachers, listening for THAT sound that would nourish her.
So far, we had plenty of nibbles but no big treasures. I asked Mercy if food played any role in her connection with God. Instant tears. A strong confirmation. I asked how, and got total silence.
I explained to Miriam that this means we have a large treasure chest in Mercy in relationship to food, but it has not been unpacked. So I went to work coaching her on how to unpack it.
We start with dividing food into two simplistic categories: liquids and solids. With the liquids, I subdivided to coffee, wine and juices.
I knew she liked a cup of joe in the mornings so asked Mercy if that was her, and I got tears for a response.
I suggested to her that she was trapped in the generic Mercy failure. The Mercy gift tends to find something that works and they camp there, accepting the good and missing the best.
She could allocate prime time on her Sabbath to go to a premier coffee shop, order a hot drink then sit and have Mercy commune with God about all the different flavors of coffee beans on the wall. At the end of the pondering, buy a small amount of something new, take it home, grind it and filter it and savor it.
Over the course of a year, she might find many different kinds of coffee she can have in her repertory of ways to meet God. She might become a connoisseur of matching spiritual climate/moods with particular coffees.
Then we talked about wine. I said there are a lot of different flavors of people with wine cellars. Some are just high brow alcoholics. Many are investors. Many more are entertainers and in their social circles wine is obligatory.
But some are spiritually sensitive to the flavors of wine and are selecting the wine for the occasion based on their spirit’s knowledge of what was right.
As overt as God is, in the Bible, about including wine in spiritual events, it is an option to consider, if her spirit felt it was to go that way. I don’t drink, so didn’t have any suggestions, other than to approach it like the coffee project.
We moved on from there to foods. I subdivided foods into meats, plants and pastries and suggested that Mercy sit down with a cook book and simply browse, waiting for something to be recognized.
I talked about meat and the difference between soul and spirit with me. I generally like fish (with my tongue and my soul) but there is something about sea bass when it is cut right (rarely) and cooked right that makes my spirit light up. Why? No clue. Hard wiring, I suspect.
I don’t eat pork for health reasons. I don’t care for turkey (a taste bud issue). I eat a lot of chicken but because my soul knows how commercial chicken is raised, it fails to engage me deeply. Good beef is always welcome in my mouth.
Ah, but lamb lands in my spirit. And a well prepared piece of lamb lands enormously in my spirit. Why? No clue. I suspect God deposited it in the Teacher portion of my spirit as original design.
I gave Mercy permission to like what she liked without having to justify it, then to spend money on premium products to prepare delectable dishes. When she has honed her skill, I suggested that she do Rev. 3, set the table for two and invite the King to come share a meal with her. There might be some immense intimacy forthcoming.
When she gets good at the components, she could begin to weave them together. What about a gourmet picnic lunch with the King on a forested hillside overlooking a meadow with cows grazing and a tree-lined hill on the other side of the meadow jutting up into crisp blue skies?
At the end of the time, Mercy was a bit overwhelmed. I told her the details were not important. The bottom line was, God wanted to meet her in the non-religious sector, erasing the line between the secular and sacred.
She was wired to find fulfillment in some of those area listed above, and it was up to her to use her time and her will and her money to dig into those areas, find out where the sweet spot was and then to overtly invest deeply in that sweet spot.
In the Mercy season, God wants to meet us in the place of design more than any other place. So for Mercy to become the best “her” she could possibly be would enormously tilt the scales toward some intense and transformational encounters with God.