I hope everyone has enjoyed the other Spiritual Formation exercises I’ve shared, courtesy of Laura Heagy and her insightful direction. The most recent exercise she’s shared with the Patrons & Peers group is called “Drafting a ‘Beloved Charter.'” She sent us a great adaptation from the book Discovering our Spiritual Identity by Trevor Hudson, and I shall further adapt it here for you guys. 😉
The Beloved Charter is a more detailed take on something I’ve heard people speaking of for years: take Scripture and make it speak directly to you by changing a few pronouns or inserting your name. Have you ever heard of that? For instance, take John 3:16 and rewrite it to say, “God so loved Roseanna/Karen/Jennifer that He gave His only begotten Son…” I’ve heard of other verses were we’re encouraged to do the same thing, to try to help us realize that God and His Word are personal. They’re meant for us. He loves us, and He speaks directly to us as He spoke to other people.
Well, let’s take it even further. Let’s pull together some of the verses about promises that really resonate with our spirits. And then let’s put them into our words, in a letter written directly to each of us, from God, based on God’s Word.
The point of this is to help us all to learn to see ourselves–and then each other–as God sees us. We are His beloved children. He loves us SO MUCH. But put the emphasis, for a moment, on yourself. He loves you. He speaks to you. You are going to resonate with things that I don’t, and I will resonate with things that don’t strike you at all. That’s part of the beauty of how He creates us. So different, and yet all bound by this common something that makes us human, that makes us Christian.
Would you like to do this exercise? If so, here’s how you do it. Read through the Scriptures in this PDF (I recommend printing it out if you can). Highlight whichever ones (or parts of ones) strike you especially.
Once you have your verses marked, pull out a piece of paper or a word processing doc or however you want to work. Date the page. And then start it like a letter, written from God to you.
Or even just your name.
Then start writing. Use the verses you marked as inspiration, but write them in words like YOU would use on a daily basis, written from the perspective of God to you. Use terms of endearment like you would if you were writing to your kids or best friend. Combine a few of the verses into one paragraph, or start a fresh paragraph for each one, whatever works best for you.
At the bottom, make note of which verses you pulled from.
Here’s mine, as an example:
Come here, my daughter. Draw near to my throne. You have a right to be here as my child. Sit right there beside your brother, Jesus–He brought you here, raised you when He raised Himself from death.
I know sometimes you feel weak, but don’t worry. The weaker you feel, the stronger I Am. I can do my best work in you and through you when you have only weakness to boast of.
I am your Author. I have written every day of your life in my book. You know how your fictional character live in your heart and mind? How much more, my daughter, do you live in mine! Abide here with me, in our story. I will live it with you.
Search your heart for anything that would keep you from me. Confess it with your lips. I’ll forgive you, heal you, restore you. Then I will truly rejoice over you, always. I can pour out far more blessings than you can even imagine.
Heb 4:16; Eph 2:4-9; 2 Cor 12:9; Psa 139:16; John 15:4; I John 1:9; Zeph 3:17; Eph 3:20
Once you’ve written yours, take a few minutes each day and read over it, imagining that Jesus is there beside you. Then, as you go through your day, view the people around you in the same way–as beloved children of our Almighty Father. Pause to wonder what words He is speaking to them. Are they words that those people need you to speak aloud to them?
I found writing this to be a beautiful exercise…and then living it to be even more so. Nearly a week after I wrote it, I’d just gone through a situation that left me feeling so inadequate. I wanted to help my daughter with something (school related), and I just didn’t know how. I felt like a failure. I felt like I wasn’t able to give what she needed.
Then I sat down with my charter again for the first time, and I read that paragraph about weakness, and tears flooded my eyes.
I felt so weak. But He is so strong.
I love my daughter. He loves her more.
I want the best for her. He died for her.
I can entrust my daughter to my Father. More, I can trust that He’ll make me the mom she needs. He will equip me to give, and He’ll equip her to walk the path He has prepared for her.
What promises is God speaking to your heart today?