Rejoicing in Her: Our Disposition of Heart

Video 7

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Do we see the person before us as a project or as a beloved daughter of God with her own dreams and her own destiny? Reflect on the three essential dispositions of the heart needed to accompany a person in crisis: prayer, leisure, and delight.

Scripture for Reflection

“Lord delights in you.” (Isaiah 62:4)

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a warrior who gives victory; he will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)

“He brought me forth into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:19)

“For the Lord takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with victory.” (Psalm 149:4)

Reflection Questions 

  1. Was there a word, phrase, or idea that resonated with me? That was new to me?
  2. Sister Bethany Madonna says, “I once read a poem that said, ‘Tread softly because you tread on my dreams'. As we accompany a pregnant woman, that is our very experience: all she has are her dreams and she will lay them out at our feet and then ask us to tread softly. This is why it’s so important for us to position ourselves humbly before those we encounter.” When was a time when my best-laid plans or dreams went awry? How did I feel? How did I get through it? Was there anyone in particular or a specific moment when I experienced genuine accompaniment?
  3. Sister Bethany Madonna says, “Love is first an act of having my heart moved by another - I feel drawn to another. Loving the other is manifesting that delight. Allowing myself to be moved by another.” When have I truly delighted in someone else? How might I describe this moment? 
  4. Sister Virginia Joy says that it’s important not to approach the other person as a task: “I’m agreeing to open my heart and enter into a relationship of love, and to do that I must approach each encounter with an inner state of leisure. … My goal is to leave her with an experience that she has been loved.” Have I ever had the experience of being received by someone who seems to have nothing but time for me? What was the experience like?
  5. Developing  a disposition of leisure can be challenging in our fast-paced, task-oriented world. How might I begin to cultivate an inner state of leisure in my own life and relationships? 
  6. Sister Virginia Joy says, “It is truly a privileged work to be with another, to sit in their presence so that we may discover with the eyes of God and his grace, the goodness he created, the beauty he made, the strength he desires to give, and we will, on our part rejoice, in his gifts.” Have I considered my time spent serving another as a privilege or as a burden? How might Sister Virginia Joy’s words help me to receive the gift of the other, who entrusts his/her heart to me?
  7. How does prayer allow me to engage in the posture of seeing the other as a gift?
  8. Is there a fruit from my prayer that I would like to share with others? 

Discussion Questions

  1. Is there a fruit from your prayer that you would like to share with others?
  2. In her work as a clinical psychologist, Mother Agnes Mary and her colleagues discovered that mothers who had the added pressure of caring for a child with autism were better mothers when their husbands delighted in them and affirmed their ability as mothers. This allowed the mothers to pour themselves into their mothering with even greater love and confidence. How does this insight about the importance of delighting in the other impact the way you might approach your family, your church, your community, and the individuals you serve?
  3. Sister Virginia Joy explains that if the woman we serve doesn’t feel that we love her for who she is, she will believe that our actions are not motivated by her worth and goodness, but are motivated by our goodness. In other words, she will feel like a project. How might you guard yourself against viewing people as projects? Against viewing yourself and your own goodness as the focus of your service? 
  4. Sister Bethany Madonna says that “delight is not a work that drains us, but rather that we are encouraged, and the effort becomes almost effortless.” Do you allow yourself the time and space to delight in those you serve? If yes, how has this impacted you? Do you experience this delight as uplifting?
  5. Delighting in the other can become a cure for burn out. In order to have the time and opportunity to delight in another we need to recognize and know our own limitations. As Sister Bethany Madonna says, “We are not the savior. Jesus is. And we need to let Him be.” Are you able to recognize your own limitations? Are there things in your life that you need to let go of in order to have the time and space to delight in others? 


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