Materials needed: pen or pencil and paper; computer or tablet
Before beginning this exercise, take a few moments to be still and sense the presence of God within you. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through this activity and reveal what he wants you to know.
Watch a video of an extremely scary roller coaster ride (Search: POV Roller Coaster Ride)
How did that video make you feel? Would you ever go on a ride like that? Why or why not? If you recall going on such a ride, describe the different physical sensations you experienced:
- What was your emotional reaction?
- Is the excitement of a thrill ride fun for you? Why or why not?
- Have you ever ridden a thrill ride feeling utterly terrified at first but then deciding you enjoyed the ride at the end? Can you remember how that made you feel? Did you try the ride again?
Outside your comfort zone
Recall a time in your life when you were asked to try something new, something outside of your comfort zone. It can be as simple as going on a thrill ride:
- Did you trust the person or persons who asked you to step out?
- Did you feel pressured to try it? Did you feel supported by the people who asked you to step out, or did you feel like you were on your own?
- How did you feel towards them after the experience? Write down your impressions.
Consider these verses from Romans 8:26–28:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Rom 8:26–28)
Is there a time when you felt a nudge from God to try something new? Describe this experience through these questions:
- Did you trust that God meant for the experience to be for your benefit? What did you experience that made you feel he was with you every step of the way? What did you do to remain in his presence? Do you believe God is with you even if you didn’t feel his presence? What can you do to call upon him?
- How did you feel when you first tried the experience?
- How did you feel when the experience was over?
- What did you learn? Did your life change at all from the experience?
Finding the courage
Is there a time when you wanted to try something new and different but you lacked the confidence? What is it that you want to try? Listen to this song by Jana Stanfield called “If I Were Brave” and imagine yourself venturing forth, empowered by the Holy Spirit
Take some time to be quiet with God and share with him how you feel after listening to the song. Read the verses from Romans again, and then picture yourself stepping out and trying the action with Jesus at your side. Write down the action you wish to take, place it somewhere where you will see it each day, and offer that action to God in prayer for one week. If you discern that God is inviting you, take steps to set that action in motion. If you are still unsure, talk it over with a friend or your parish priest—it may be that God wishes to reveal his will to you through that person.
copyright 2015 Susan W. Bailey;
from Chapter 6 of River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times,
published by Ave Maria Press