Shownotes: Episode 041b Interview with Maria Campbell, Senior Pastor, Susanna Wesley UMC, Topeka, KS
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When Maria Campbell thinks of Living from God’s Center, she envisages a peaceful blue sky near the ocean. The ocean is her happy place, where she is regenerated and can regain her equilibrium. During her time with the Living from God’s Center program her spirit re-centered and she was able to find a sense of peace. She is comforted by the color blue. At times her heart and spirit can travel back to the ocean.
Maria can also find that peace through the work with Living from God’s Center; to expand and go to that calm and quiet space in her spirit to that breeze that refreshes, blows away all the cares of the world and allow God to reign within. She talked about the inner sky.
Her deep desire is to have God at center of every part of her life then she can recognize that God is one holding her and the world in the place.
Living from God’s Center in Life and Ministry
One of Maria’s big focuses is learning how to incorporate Sabbath into her daily life. As pastor, she gets to lead people on their Sabbath journey on Sunday morning and very busy day in her life. In preparing that, it gets busy. Now she is able to find Sabbath in each day. By using peace and calm and looking toward center which is God an taking that ocean blue and breeze that can blow everything out, she has taken Sabbath each day. That calm and quiet has been able to generate more energy into her daily work and live a more restored life on a regular bases versus needing to go to the mountain top every quarter or year.
Work with LFGC a time of celebration that hasn’t stopped or wavered. Continually taps in. It does take discipline. Because it became so much a part of the practice during the 6 months, she committed to it. Joyful self reminder.
Understanding “Yes”—The Path to Living from God’s Center with Joy and Energy Today
Maria was held to some interesting accountability and she had to learn to limit what she would say “yes,” to. It proved to be more difficult than even she understood. Then she started to shift her perspective around it and limiting what she would do with the gift of God’s time.
She started to believe it wasn’t always good for her or the gifts God had given to say, “yes.” She was wearing herself out in ways that weren’t good for her preaching or other duties. By limiting her choice of what she said yes to, she was being more faithful to God; using gifts more effectively so when she was with God’s people she was giving more of what God had. The reward from God was that she saw in the faces of the people with whom she was interfacing, the appreciation of them having her full attention. The phrase, “I’m concerned about you, you’re so tired” started disappearing. That was a burden she should not have been carrying. They should not have been worrying on her.
Her understanding started focusing on what the Holy Spirit wanted to accomplish through her vs what she wanted to accomplish. All we need to do is let go of that control part. God is so amazing.
Maria truly believes insightful questioning and guidance CS gave opened parts of herself that she saw as if for the first time.
Her new enthusiasm for ministry and personal life spilling over. It feels as if she has more boundless energy. She does somewhat less work. She is empowering people to do work on her own. LFGC and trusting in God’s power allowed her to relinquish areas of her life that she wasn’t in control of anyway.
Advice to Someone Desiring to Live from God’s Center
Stop and be quiet and listen. It is hard. God is always speaking, trying to reveal to us what God desires. God fully knows and is able to help us achieve what God needs to be done in God’s creation. We become so busy trying to put our plans into place that we don’t here. So, making room, even in our prayer time.
A lot of very faithful people will say, “I pray” but so much of it is intercessory prayer where we’re telling God what we need so we don’t make time for God to fill us with what God would want to share. Making time and that space to honestly stop and be still. When you do make time, be willing to trust that God is at work in your life and that God may not move in your time frame but God will move in the time frame that is most good for you and those you encounter and need to be in relationship with and God will speak.
Favorite books or prayer resources that Maria recommends
Henri Nouwen in general and specifically,
The Only Necessary Thing: Living a Prayerful Life by Henri Nouwen
Work by the Benedictine Sisters of St Mt Scholastica
The various guides to prayer by Reuben Job.
Photo courtesy of Free-Photos / Pixabay.Com
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Dr. Claire is a spiritual mentor and coach who helps busy business and corporate leaders beat overwhelm and stress to increase productivity and improve their relationships.