This past fall, 20 years after I moved from Washington, DC to New York City kicking and screaming, I moved to Arizona with great joy and expectancy. Both of these relocations were in response to calls from God, but my approach and attitude were different. The journey 20 years ago was shaped by a focus on what I did not want to do (attend seminary and live in New York City) and my strong desire to remain in my comfort zone. Because of the undeniably awesome ways Spirit has manifested in my life throughout my time in New York (including two years in Stamford), I trust Spirit to continue to surprise me with unimaginable blessings.
Twenty years ago, shortly before I moved to New York, I had the vision of writing a book, Journeys into Joy. At first, I felt “some kinda way” when Spirit told me that I was not ready to write that book. Instead I was pushed to write a book about listening (The Gift to Listen, the Courage to Hear). At the time, I didn’t realize this deep focus on what I call soul listening was a critical step along my journeys into joy. I use the plural journeys to honor the parts of my journey that appeared to be unrelated or off-the-track roads but were nonetheless life-giving parts of the overall journey.
Along the way in my journeys into joy, I've had the incredible privilege to meet many amazing people like you – presiding at weddings, providing pastoral counseling, leading retreats, facilitating organizational change, serving as pastor, writing books.
Along this journey, Spirit helped me to recognize I was wearing the social masks I was taught by church, family and society to wear. Spirit helped me recognize my pattern of putting other people’s wants and needs ahead of my own. As I have trusted Spirit to love me unconditionally, I allowed myself to see things about me I didn’t want to see, I have become more free and whole than ever before.
For our journey two months ago, Zoraida and I (along with our dog Kuma) drove 2,500 miles across country in a Dodge Journey rental car. No, we did not ask for a car model with such a fitting name. Our 5-day drive was exhilarating and exhausting. We could have flown, but we wanted to make this an important ritual to signify the beginning of a new part of life’s adventure.
Whatever you do this year, keep an intention to journey into joy.
When I reflect on what I have experienced and the ways I’ve grown in these past 20 years, I am blown away. I am also inspired, strengthened and emboldened as I begin this next leg of my journey in Arizona. I am expecting to co-create tremendous opportunities to help others along the way in their own journeys into joy.
2017 offers unimaginable opportunities to live more expanded, empowered, joy-filled, love-grounded, peace-anchored as we continue to heal, release, forgive, transform and receive and share the unconditional love of God. As you remind yourself “You are more awesome than you know,” break through any self-limiting narratives.
Whatever you do this year, keep an intention to journey into joy. Instead of allowing challenges to distract you from goals, transform your perception of them, remembering that God and your ancestors are journeying with you. That’s how you experience the peace that surpasses understanding only Spirit can give as you move forward in the next seasons of your life. Spirit is indeed doing a new thing, making new things possible. How you perceive it impacts the choices you make and the degree of freedom and power for your journey.
Thank you for allowing me to journey with you and small and big ways. If there are any ways I might be able to support your journey, please know I am here available to you.
When you read my blog posts, please send your comments and I will be glad to respond. Peace, CJ