What is “FIRE in my Heart” all about? As a writer, I have used left-brain research, analysis, and organization to great advantage and success. Now I am exploring whether I can be vulnerable enough to open my heart and share the Fire of encounters with God that began in intensity after a series of medical crises in 1995.
I discovered that there seemed to be no common English word to describe an unexpected, positive experience that seems to be beyond the ordinary — an experience, perhaps, of God. The words I found in the dictionary were things like “weird, eerie, spooky, supernatural, mysterious, uncanny, unearthly, unnatural, ghostly” — words we either don’t believe in or that frighten us.
So, the best analogy I could come up with from everyday life is what I call the “startle response.” Think about the startle response in infants — they respond with their whole bodies to unexpected stimulation, whether that be a noise, a touch, or whatever. Think, too, about the startle responses you have experienced as an adult — waking with a start, perhaps, or being startled in your whole physical being by a loving touch, or in your whole inner being by a totally unexpected act of caring or kindness. Often God’s quiet claim and presence have caused a startle response in me — or simply a feeling of wonder and amazement.
Think about the startle moments in your own life – moments when you wondered – because you felt it was God and you wanted to believe… But it was so quiet – and there’s no English word for it…. so you were afraid to trust it!
The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences and look at everyday life from that perspective. I invite your response from your own vulnerability. Perhaps you are braver than I in sharing, or perhaps my experiences can encourage you to recognize similar ones in your own life.
Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, author, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College. She is the author of Workplace Spirituality: A Complete Guide for Business Leaders (Axial Age Publishing, 2006)