Unleashed Book Club: Chapter 2

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Welcome to the Unleashed Book Club! We’re reading Unleashed, by Sonja Corbitt.

-Unleashed Book Club 800 - CatholicMom.com copy

I loved this whole chapter, I read it once and then had to go through and re-read my notes just to soak as much of it up as I could. It’s full of many precious pearls for the soul.

Pointing to the woman in scripture with the hemorrhage, from Mark’s gospel, who reached out and touched Jesus and was then cured, Sonja invites us to reach out and touch the Holy Spirit so he can unleash his powerful and healing love on us. Like a true gentleman, as Sonja says,

The Holy Spirit never forces, only invites.

Sometimes we wonder – is He ever going to hear me or answer me? Sonja assures us – He does and he will.

When I am completely at a loss as to how I should proceed in a circumstance or have not the resources to move forward, I can always count on the Holy Spirit, the Way Maker, to do something. Predictably unpredictable, we never know the details of when to expect him, just that we should expect him, because he will arrive.

What stuck out to me the most in this chapter was Sonja’s points about letting the Holy Spirit work within us at his own pace! Relating the Holy Spirit’s timing to that of nature she poses this question –

How often do I mistake ambition for inspiration and seek to make energy a substitute for a clearly defined intention?

Yikes. Guilty for sure [said while sheepishly raising my hand in the back row].

Too often, I get caught up in all the things I could do – all of them good. I’ll get all excited about all the wonderful ways in which I could serve God and bring Christ to others and then I start hopping from one idea to the next until – without fail – I crash into a dozen brick walls and fall of my high horse of righteousness in the name of God.

When this happens, I usually find myself weeping on the kitchen floor, wallowing in self-misery and cracker crumbs while my kids run around me screaming and crying for something or another.

It’s only in prayer later, and by reading Sonja’s words, that I realize how I got there: I tried rushing God; setting my own time limits and starting projects – all in His name of course – on my own initiative but without consulting him first. I just assumed since it sounded like a good idea that must have meant it was “inspired by the Holy Spirit” and that I had to do it right away and ignore everything else in the process – including my family.

But Sonja says, wait:

Trust the delicacy of a slow unleashing. Welcome it if it must be slow, knowing the results are certain, as you might accept the dark weight of winter with absolute assurance that it will surely submit to a bright and gentle spring.

To Ponder, Reflect, and Discuss:

  1. Do you wait patiently for the Holy Spirit to guide you, or do you take matters into your own hands and hope He catches up?
  2. Can you think of a time when you wondered if the Holy Spirit would ever respond to you and then realized later that He had been working on it the whole time?

Feel free to comment on your own thoughts from this week’s reading, your impressions and reflections, and/or your answers to these questions.

Next week, we’ll cover Chapter 3. For the complete reading schedule and information about our Book Club, visit the Unleashed Book Club page.

Order your copy of Unleashed: How to Receive Everything the Holy Spirit Wants to Give You at Ave Maria Press

SPECIAL SALE PRICE: $11 – Use code UNLEASH

Copyright 2015 Erika Marie

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About Author

Erika Marie is a simple Catholic, Wife, and Mama. She relishes snuggles and free time with her family and enjoys reading, writing, blogging, and has a slightly obsessive addiction to creating Canva graphics. Enjoy more reflections by Erika at her personal simplemama blog.

30 Comments

  1. Regarding question 1, I am always trying to run one step ahead of the Holy Spirit. That paragraph you wrote at the end about rushing God–that’s me. I want to set the timetable. But the Holy Spirit is not going to fall subject to my carefully color-coded Google calendar. And I keep having that lesson brought home to me. God help me, but I’m a slow learner in that department!

  2. #2. I’ve been feeling like that for a while, wondering if God is really going to somehow help me. But today something wonderful happened to remind me that He is always there, helping me, just maybe not in the way I imagined.

    I struggle with anxiety/feeling overwhelmed and worrying too much. Through reading this book, I’ve also realized I am afraid of not being a good enough mother, of my children not staying Catholic when they grow up, because of my weaknesses as a parent.

    This morning, I went to Mass, alone, something I rarely get to do. I was feeling so discouraged and emotional. Before I got into the sanctuary, I found a Magnificat booklet on a table with a FREE note on it. I took it, and thanked God and whomever left it there. That was the first awesome thing that happened today.

    Then the readings. The first reading was St. Paul talking about his weaknesses and that God’s grace is sufficient. Wow.
    2nd reading: from Matthew, do not worry about what you will eat, drink, wear, etc. I love that part of the Bible and it was so great to be reminded to not worry.

    Then, the homily: ‘Often we think that Mary doesn’t understand our emotions and feelings, because she was perfect. But she was human and suffered greatly while watching her son die. Let Our Lady hold you and comfort you.’

    I was completely blown away by the many ways the Holy Spirit showed me today that He is there and He does hear me and that everything will be okay, and that maybe this little bit of suffering I endure is doing something and God will use it/is using it for good.

    “My grace is sufficient for you. Do not worry.”

    PS: Today’s readings:
    http://usccb.org/bible/readings/062015.cfm

  3. Oh my – what a relationship the Holy Spirit and I have. For years I ignored him – focusing on Jesus alone. Then in reading Jesus words before his ascension realized it was time to open my heart to the Holy Spirit. It was then I discovered godcidence – those moments that ONLY God’s Holy Spirit can orchestrate in our lives. I learned to listen to that inner voice, and to read the Scriptures with the Spirit’s guidance. ALLOWING THE Holy Spirit to be unleashed in my life – has been transformative … and even though as I read Sonja’s words I see there is still much the Spirit longs to do in my heart and soul, but i am still blocking. Loved this reflection Erica – really got me thinking — as a good reflection is ought to do!

    • Hmm…sounds familiar! It may have taken me a good three decades to get to where I’m at, but I am thankful that little by little, I am learning to open myself up more to the Holy Spirit.

  4. Erika, great points here. Like Allison said, I first focused on Jesus alone, maybe the Father some. However added a different path by being involved with the Catholic charismatic prayer for a while early in my intentional faith walk. It was good for my soul at the time, but t eventually I made it about emotionality: how will the Holy Spirit make me FEEL, not what will the Holy Spirit want me to do and be through Him? Sonja’s Unleashed is really bringing me into what I hope is a mature relationship with the Third Person.

    As for the first question, I tend more towards the “throw and hope” approach of following the Holy Spirit without the actual waiting required. Unleashed is helping me to veer away from that tendency incrementally and to sit and be with the pain that comes with the waiting…which, of course, brings me back to Christ on the cross and the goodness of the creative Father. It’s a little mind boggling, but that’s okay.

    For the second, there’s the story of my husband’s conversion and our spontaneous twin pregnancy after five years of infertility. I kept thinking, “If this guy would just convert, we’d HAVE to get pregnant, right!?” Little did I know God was planning a miracle through and because of our infertility to bring about his conversion. It’s things like this that are getting me better at the “shut up and wait” thing. Incrementally, of course.

    • I love what you say here Erin –
      “Unleashed is helping me to veer away from that tendency incrementally and to sit and be with the pain that comes with the waiting…which, of course brings me back to Christ on the cross and the goodness of the creative Father.” I love thinking about God the Father being “creative”! Which seems very obvious given the world we live in.
      It took billions of years for the world to look the way it does now, so God is a slow worker but when he works – wow does he work!

  5. In regards to the first question, I’m trying to learn–in my older age–to allow for a period of discernment before making decisions. I have something like this in the works right now… by nature, I’d normally rush headlong into a decision. But time has taught me that my first impulses are not always God’s will. Great reflection Erika!

    • Lisa,
      Yes, I think we have similar personalities! I think that’s why having good friends to bounce ideas off can be such a blessing since they can help each other pause and really think out loud before just jumping in.

  6. Regarding question #1…I have to laugh, because YES, I take matters into my own hands. All.the.time! I am so bad about this! When I get to rushing ahead with things, I get so overwhelmed and I don’t *listen*. Definitely. And it’s a hard habit to break! But I’m trying.

    • I have the fishing pole approach to my relationship with God and his will. I have him things (aka cast my worries on him) and then either because I don’t want to bother him or he didn’t get to it quick enough (more latter than former lol), I REEL it back in!! Habits are HARD to break Tiffany – good point — and like you I am trying. I am working on the St. Peter fishing approach – CAST MY NET, and sit back and let Jesus do the work :)) Wonder if Peter and pals had margaritas on that boat while they waited :))

        • I agree! This is a beautiful image, Allison! I love that. Years ago, I used to have a “worry box” on my desk that I would stuff notes into. 🙂 So, something I was worried about? I would write it down on a tiny piece of paper, fold it up, and stuff it into the box. Then I would mentally tell myself to “let that worry go” because it was in God’s Worry Box, and he was taking care of it now. There’s something about the physicality of that that helped me in this endeavor. And your analogy is similar. I haven’t thought about doing something like that in quite some time, but I should change my way of thinking!

          • Ooo, a worry box sounds like a great idea too! I could use my kids’ sticks to “fish” for a worry to look at later and laugh about it before throwing it “out to sea”. 😉

  7. Natasha Schaff on

    i am loving this book. This book could not have come at a more appropriate time in my life. In response the first question, I am much better at waiting for guidance from the Holy Spirit than I was a few years ago. However, at times I still jump in and don’t take time to pray and wait for the Holy Spirit to guide me. My family left the Church 7 years ago and went to a Protestant church. My husband was struggling with the Catholic Church in which he grew up in and I was a nominal Catholic at best. In this new church I always felt an internal conflict. I loved the bible studies, the great music and sermons. However, I never quite fit in and just kept questioning how one denomination could believe one thing and another denomination translate scripture into something completely different. Four or five years later I felt a call to come home and it didn’t leave. I’ve been back for 2 years and have a complete appreciation and love for the Church that Jesus started with Peter as the first pope. I know the Holy Spirit had been working in me for quite a while to get me back and have a true understanding of what I left. My husband is not back but respects my decision for going back. I know it’s all in God’s timing and one day he will be back with me. This is where I really wait for the Holy Spirit to let me know when to speak up and when not to speak up.

    • I feel so bad I don’t have a web site so that you could put a face to my name .Anyway I can relate to Natasha I Too went through the the same experience however during that time I always found myself at the Door of the St.Clares Nuns where they lived they ring there door bell a Nun would come out and talk to me as I said my fears anxiety and so on ok, this was still as still when I was in a no Catholic Church however since I was cradle catholic had made my sacraments . A part of me knew or since a difference . It was all about our personal relationship with Christ . However at times I would I fine my self going to mass or sitting down as listening to the Nun’s as they sang . I had not made the choice to go back yet to the church anyway
      I have been struggling in my marriages for awhile . I Remember how Sonja spoke about patterns and how the Israelites never came into the promise because of there unbelieve and I tought Lord I don’t want to walk around this mountain again over and over .
      I prayed like Sonja taught us too pray I went too adoration and I just started crying and pouring out my heart to the Lord as I was praying I ask God Lord am I my really hearing you or my hearing what I want to hear , then a young man walk in he ask me if I mind if he sang I said no . He sang in Latin just like an angle perfect . Then I ask him if he would sing a song just for me but before you Sing-a-Song to please pray to the Holy Spirit to guide you . He said I have a song for you the words went like this ” for I have herd your whispers in your heart and you know my wish you hear me you know my voice”” I cried so much never in my life has God answered me so fast the joy I felt was so amazing .
      The the Holy Spirit started too show me what I have been doing wrong my patterns so I quickly wrote them down so that I may remember to work on them .
      It’s amazing the power of the Holy Spirit meet me just as I was and should me my own speck in my eye.
      Thank you Sonja for showing us how to pray then set back,

      • Natasha and Marina,
        Wow what amazing testaments to the powerful – albeit hidden – workings of the Spirit. He really does “whisper” His truth and love gently into our souls, beckoning us to come into a deeper and deeper union with a him.

        • Thank you Natasha I know it eas long to share but you took the time too read it all I am bless.
          I notice most of you all have a blog I don’t for the very reason I am not a writer like most of you all . And e en if I did would not know hope to ha e a post most of the time . Don’t have goog grandma lots of run-on sentences and so on .
          A little about myself born and raise in San Antion Tx my parents too born and raised. In Texas. It was my grandparents that were from Mexico they came. In 1933 paid 25.00$ And he came residence my father was born in Texas and went to the Air Force Base which pay for his college education and work for the FBI. My mom was a teacher on my mom said they came from Louisiana and my mom’s father came from Mexico . Therefor at home I learn to speak Spanish with my grand parents & both my pants would speake ih Spanish @ home . I learn to speak English in 2nd grade there fore I miss out on a lot of Phonics . Hoever I remember my first would I spoke in English it was” much” I love my teach she taught me how too speake English I still think of her till this very day. I was eant you call (Sink or swim ) well I learn fast to swim it’s after that all I spoke was English however my parents & grand parents never let me forget Spanish . It has come in handy know since . most of the very rich have abandon their country and fear it’s really scary over there right now . But they make the best catholic so loyal to the Catholic Church they never miss. In away I would love to bring them bible study b/c they know nothing. But are very faithful in fact the give a lot of money too the church . I have a friend from Mexico and invited too pray the roast with them I told them I have to say it in English b/c I can read some Spanish but not all you translate into other meetings just like in Heber . BUT I WANT TOO SHARE WITHEBERYONR THERE ROASY IS LONG !! Almost a hour long. And it’s beautiful they way the acknowledge Mary . They like me b/c I can speak their language and I understand your way of living . However they refused to speak English they say nominal can’t speak English but they know but they’re embarrassed and I tell him don’t be embarrassed I was embarrassed to speak Spanish with y’all because it’s not as fluent as there and if I can do it you can do it too and then they laugh. refused to speak English they say nominal can’t speak English but they know but they’re embarrassed and I tell him don’t be embarrassed I was embarrassed to speak Spanish with y’all because it’s not as fluent as there and if I can do it you can do it too and then they married too child . And that s me .
          On and I just have too say I meet Sonja Colbitt when she came to our women’s conference she is so lovely we share about our lives if you ever meet her she is so genuine there is not a mean bone in her body there’s nothing but love coming out of her ,
          PS : if you ever meet her bring her cookies she loves too treats .
          Sonja if you read this I hope I didn’t. Embarrass you because I love treat myself to just as much as you do ❤️❤️❤️ Thanks Natasha and all the lovely women I enjoy you all , May God unleashed us all!!

  8. Thank you, ladies. You have brought me to tears this morning, challenged me, lifted me up, and encouraged me. Thank you, each one. I am reminded, AGAIN!, that God “is helping me to veer away from [the tendency to rush] incrementally and to sit and be with the pain that comes with the waiting…which, of course brings me back to Christ on the cross and the goodness of the creative Father.”

  9. Reading chapter 2 and confirming the reality of a slow unleashing of the Holy Spirit has helped me take a deep breath of relief. So often, when I can’t see or feel God working in my life, I get panicky. Did He hear my prayer? Did I hear His response? Doesn’t He know my heart’s desire? Why is this not working? I want answers! I want to know! Lately, I have had those same “antsy” feelings, but have received a deep sense of “Wait on me, Sarah.” And so, I am trying to rest in that, combatting my “feelings” with the reassurance of God’s desire for me to wait, that He has a plan and His timing is the one He wants me to follow. The nature analogy in Chapter 2 has really confirmed this for me. Sonja uses descriptive words like “centered, reliable, and controlled” to describe God’s work. “The greater, higher, and nobler his work, the slower is its growth and the more lasting its success.” Wow! I love to think about God moving in my life in this reliable, steadfast, strong type of way! What reassurance this brings of how well we are cared for, of the great work God truly does in our lives!

    • Sarah,
      I like that you point out how we have to separate our “feelings” from God’s Will. While I think God does work with and through our feelings (he designed us with these strong hormones and emotions after all) we have to give time to make sure we are using all the parts of our body – heart, mind, and soul! I often say to God ‘My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak…”or even vice versa. 😉

  10. Tanya LeSane on

    I have always been inpatient. I guess I still am. But I do see myself making an attempt to slow down and let the Holy Spirit guide my actions. But it is not easy. We live in a world that says you are in charge of your destiny and that people who sit back and wait don’t get very far in life. I fell into the pressure of the secular world to make something happen for myself. If you want something in your life go after it. I guess I took the road most often travelled and kept jumping from one project to the next. Slowing down made me realize that perhaps this was not the solution to my problems. So, I did not slow down. I kept jumping. As someone stated, this often lead to disappointment, anger, confusion and sadness. So now I’m trying something different. I am trying to allow myself to be open to the Holy Spirit and allow the Spirit’s gentle nudges to guide me. Guess you can say that I am a work in progress. But I guess most of us are. Tanya

    • Tanya,
      I read your comment and thought you somehow figured out how to hack into my mind and see my thoughts! 😉 I, too, feel that there is so much pressure from our society to “be all you can be” and “seize the day” and go out there and “achieve your dreams!” Everywhere we look, even on children’s t-shirts, it’s all about “I” and what “I” am going to do or be.

      Did you happen to read the readings for June 25?
      This part from the Gospel of Matthew goes well with this whole conversation:

      ““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
      will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
      but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
      Many will say to me on that day,
      ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
      Did we not drive out demons in your name?
      Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
      Then I will declare to them solemnly,
      ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’”

      BUT ONLY THE ONE WHO DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. <—- That. That is what we need to focus on!

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