Receiving has to do with how deeply we allow God’s presence and guidance to sink in to us, and how much let it affect us. A critical ingredient in how much of God’s presence and activity we become aware of involves how open we are to receive what God is sharing with us. At least as far as our brains are concerned, a readiness to receive seems to be needed at both a conscious and a pre-conscious level. Our brain is sifting tons of input and information all the time and it has a well developed system to put what doesn’t seem to be personally relevant into the background and pass on up toward conscious awareness the things that are personally relevant. The information that makes it all the way up to the level of consciousness is quite small compared to the large pile of stuff that is relegated to the background as either unimportant (think traffic noise) or important mostly to other subconcious parts of our brain (think assessing people’s subtle facial expressions). Even the information that we do become consciously aware of, we mostly choose to disregard in order to focus on one or two main things at a time. If we want to become more aware of God’s presence and guidance, we need help, practice, etc. to receive the God’s presence and input more deeply both at a conscious and pre-conscious level. As we practice the exercises in the first few workshops of noticing, naming, and welcoming, it generally gets easier to consciously recognize what God may be sharing with us. The next step, which participants will have the opportunity to practice in this workshop is training our conscious mind to deliberately let what God wants to share with us sink in more deeply.
Responding: Often when we engage with what God is showing us, God shows us more or does more. This works with both direct and indirect ways of being aware of God. For example, if a person asks what God would like to share with them and they immediately have a thought about their father when they had not been thinking of him at all, they may ask something like, “God if that is from you, what would you like me to know about my father?” And notice what comes to mind next. Or in another example, a person may directly see Jesus with them in a positive memory. If they engage with Jesus presence in the memory by talking with him and noticing how he responds, usually more will start to unfold and the scene will come to life even if it feels subtle.