Attune to God's Voice for Your Work- Tracy Mathews (Podcast Ep. 33)
Where is God when you're putting out a fire at work, or dealing with a difficult co-worker, or trying to make a complicated decision? If you could discern God's guidance and presence in your everyday life and work, what would you ask? Guest Tracy Mathews is an engineer and entrepreneur who spent nine years in biotech and consulting. She currently leads Attune, a ministry that helps leaders and teams grow in their capacity to attune to Jesus in the midst of everyday work.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (NIV)
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (NIV)
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. (NIV)
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,[c] but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” (NIV)
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (NIV)
Additional Resources Referenced
Attune to Grow: https://attunetogrow.org
Think Again by Adam Grant
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Leah Archibald: Making It Work is brought to you by The Max De Pree Center for Leadership at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Theology of Work Project.
Mark Roberts: Welcome to Making it Work.
LA: Through conversation, scripture and stories, we invite God into work’s biggest challenges... so that you can live out your purpose in the workplace.
MR: I’m Mark Roberts.
LA: And I’m Leah Archibald. And this is Making It Work.
Where is God when you're putting out a fire at work, or dealing with a difficult co-worker, or trying to make a complicated decision? If you could discern God's guidance and presence in your everyday life and work, what would you ask? Tracy Mathews is an engineer and entrepreneur who spent nine years in biotech and consulting. She currently leads Attune, a ministry that helps leaders and teams grow in their capacity to attune to Jesus in the midst of everyday work. Tracy Mathews, welcome to the Making It Work podcast.
Tracy Mathews: Oh, thank you so much for having me, I've been so looking forward to this.
LA: Oh. So thank you so much for joining us. I'm wondering, first of all, how your experience as an engineer or a consultant informed what it is you do to help people today?
TM: Oh, sure. I think that one of the things I appreciate about both engineers and consultants is they're broad in knowing that the problem or challenge or opportunity they're gonna work on is kind of a bigger, hairier issue that they will take months or even years to work towards. And I think one of the most helpful things about that is that they bring a posture of, "I don't know."
LA: A posture of... Not that you don't know what the posture is but, "I don't know," is a posture that they come in with.
TM: Yes. They have a pretty clear idea of where they're trying to go, but they know that they don't know how to get from A to B, otherwise they wouldn't be called in. And I feel like with the work of Attune, with the work of spiritual attunement, this work of better discerning or hearing God's guidance and then following it, a lot of the work we do with leaders is helping them adopt this posture of, "I don't know." I think so many of us get affirmed for knowing what we're doing and knowing how to get from A to B, but that kind of posture really gets in the way of hearing from God who sees so much more than we can.
LA: That's a little bit of a scary proposition to most of us, to just inhabit... [chuckle] To inhabit the, "I don't know." I don't know, Mark, through your work as a pastor, I bet people didn't want you to come off as a "I don't know" type of figure too often.
MR: Oh my gosh, I... [chuckle] That's just completely reliving a fairly difficult conversation I had. So I was a young pastor to be a senior pastor. I was 33 years old, starting the church. The former pastor, who was a wonderful man and a good friend, but a very strong leader, very confident, very type A... He had all the answers. And so I remember we're in this meeting, and we're dealing with a really tough issue. Don't remember what it is, doesn't matter, but really tricky, and we're debating with my elders and trying to figure it out. And finally one of the elders says, "Well, what should we do?" Asked me. I said, "You know, honestly, I really don't know." And she says, "But you're the pastor, you're supposed to know” and she wasn't kidding.
And I felt just so awful, like, "Oh my gosh, I'm a failure." Even though a part of me knows, "Ah, that's not quite right." Then the other part of me that has to be successful and look good and know... And have all the answers, is thinking, "Okay, I'm a failure, and she and the others think I'm a lousy pastor." And it was really... It really took a long time for me to be okay with that, and I don't know that I'm fully okay with that, but I'm mostly okay with the, "I don't know," posture today.
TM: And we're taught that, and the people around us, like you said, your elder board, expects that of you. It's certainly a challenge, and it's all that dying to self stuff, which is part of the spiritual journey.
LA: I have to say, Tracy, it's not just in the spiritual journey where having a reframing type mindset is helpful. For example, I just started reading Adam Grant's new book, it's called Think Again. And he's an intellectual on management theory, and a researcher on what works in terms of management strategy in businesses today. And his latest book is on why businesses fail, because they're unable to adopt a rethinking mindset that challenges their long-held ideas. So it's not just in the spiritual development where we're like, "We have to remain humble to be like Jesus," it's actually in our effectiveness in the workplace, where a growth mindset or a, "I don't know," mindset might be helpful.
TM: And I would say, given the pandemic, I think a lot more people are awake to the kind of adaptive leadership, the innovation, that is really needed. That listening posture, which again, assumes that you don't already know everything, that will allow you to navigate seasons of change and uncertainty and possibility. So yeah, I totally agree.
LA: Now, tell us, Tracy, has this mindset always come naturally to you? Were you always kind of a curious person and not a know-it-all?
TM: No. I was curious, I would say, but I'm Chinese, which part of the culture is kind of like, "Don't speak up until you're pretty sure you have the right answer." I was also an engineer. [chuckle] Where that's part of it too. I am a three on the Enneagram. So for a lot of reasons...
LA: Now, I should break in and say I was raised Jewish. So we speak before our brain catches up...
Is how we work in my family. If you don't start shouting, you're not gonna be heard at all. So you better just get something out there before it's all the way fully thought through. [chuckle]
MR: Tracy, I need to ask you though. You went to Harvard Business School. I've known a lot of Harvard Business School people. I've never known one Harvard Business School person who listens a lot and doesn't talk first.
How did you survive there? Not to mention be successful? What did you do?
TM: I was pretty good at at least pretending like I knew what I was talking about.
MR: Yeah, I got that.
TM: Yeah. And it has really been the work of Attune that has helped me undo a lot of what I had been affirmed of all my life. And to really embrace this posture of, "I don't know". It's been an undoing in many, many ways. But that has been so good. And I can say I'm a better worker, I'm a better entrepreneur, I'm a better innovator and more creative. I'm more able... I'm a better friend and a mother. This assuming that I don't already know all the answers or how to solve problems puts us in a position to really hear.
LA: So tell us more about Attune, because you've sold me. You say you're a better worker and everything else, all the other hats that you wear. So you're gonna lead us through an exercise today that's gonna help us make it work, or solve some problems in our work. And Mark and I are just gonna be... Is guinea pigs the right word?
LA: Are we taking on the aura of guinea pig right now?
TM: For your audience, you are. And thank you.
MR: That's better than test dummies.
LA: Test subject test dummy.
TM: It's really helpful for your audience to be able to hear your experience with the tool or exercise that I'm gonna lead you through. So, in that way, it's a great service to your audience. I would also encourage anyone who's listening to go ahead and try this real-time. You don't have to share about it if you don't want to. But you'll get to hear how Leah and Mark experience it.
MR: So I should say, in full disclosure, that I have been in many Attune exercises with you already, Tracy, as you know.
MR: Both individually and then in the context of our work together, and then my work at the De Pree Center at Fuller, you've done the work for us. So the good news for me is I come to this with great expectation and no anxiety. [chuckle] I trust you. And I trust the process. And I know what it does. So I just needed to say that in case people will be amazed that I'm so cool at the end.
TM: You are so cool.
LA: We're gonna be amazed at your insights, Mark. I'm coming from the opposite perspective. I have no idea what we're about to do.
MR: Well, that's good then. Then you're like a fresh guinea pig. And I'm like an old guinea pig.
LA: I'm a fresh, fresh guinea pig.
TM: I love it.
LA: And not knowing what kind of wheel I'm about to jump into. So I'm ready.
TM: Excellent, excellent, excellent. So we're gonna do an exercise. It's an attunement exercise. That's all of what we do. And attunement is really just about taking a situation we're facing, opening ourselves up to more of God's guidance for it, and looking for how we can respond at resonance with God's guidance. So this exercise is called Giving Voice to the Body. It will help us bring our full selves before God, mind, body and emotions. So it'll take us about 10 to 15 minutes. This is an exercise that is especially helpful when there is a situation that is stirring some kind of stronger reaction or emotion within you. It might be positive. It might be negative. But it's something that maybe you can viscerally feel already. Or maybe it's just something you can't stop thinking about. Maybe it's something that's keeping you up at night. Something that's stirring something stronger within you. Again, any kind of situation is fair game. God cares about all of it.
"My boss is micromanaging me." "I have this awesome opportunity but I'm terrified." Or, "My kids won't put their shoes on," or whatever the case may be. Alright, so if you don't have a pen or a pencil or something you can capture some notes with, that might be helpful too, but if you don't, no worries. But otherwise, just get yourself into a comfortable position. I'll lead us in a few words of prayer and then begin walking you through the prompts of Giving Voice to the Body.
Gracious, heavenly Father, we are thankful that you are with us and that you guide us. And at this time, God, we ask that you would give us more of your eyes to see, more of your ears to hear, as it relates to this particular situation that we're going through. We love you. We trust you. And we are yours.
Alright, so I'd like you to bring the situation that has been stirring some stronger reactions within you to mind. If you can bring yourself to a real live moment in time where you were wrestling with the things related to this situation. And simply begin to capture some of the thoughts that play in your mind. Some of the emotions that you're experiencing. I feel sad, I feel excited, I feel big, I feel small, whatever the case might be.
We're just surfacing some of these things, but as you think particularly about the emotions at play, see if you can identify where in your physical body you feel the strongest stirring, my heart or my stomach, or my back, my fingers. Where do you feel the deepest stirring?
And as you locate this physical sensation, see if you can even exaggerate it a little bit, and then put some metaphor to it. My heart, it feels tight like a tennis racket that's strung a little too tightly, or my stomach, it feels maybe like a balloon, or whatever the case might be.
Now, see if you can capture your best sense of what your body might be expressing to you or showing you. I think I'm worried about this thing, or I think I feel so ready to pounce on this opportunity, whatever the case might be.
And as you concentrate on this physical body sensation, again, exaggerate it if you're able. And now answer, what does my body want to do in response, what does my physical body want to do? I wanna jump up and jump in a pool, I wanna hide under my covers, I wanna kick them in the shins, whatever the case might be. What does your physical body want to do in response?
Okay, we're gonna go through a little visualization exercise now. I want you to visualize yourself, see yourself actually beginning to do this thing that your body wants to do. See yourself doing it.
And now allow yourself to become aware of God's presence in the scene. Just let the scene play out, it's totally okay if nothing comes. But how do you see God's presence come forth? How does He interact with you?
Now, see if you can get a glimpse of God's face. Can you see His face, His facial expressions? What do they communicate about how He sees you in the situation that you're in?
Now go ahead and write down your best sense of God's guidance for you as it pertains to the situation you find yourself in.
And with this guidance in mind, we ask you to answer, What will I do? What's just one, maybe two ways you might live further into the guidance or expression God has given you? Might be a small, tiny step, it might be a big step, it might be a Post-it to keep it in front of me or a conversation I need to have, what's at least one way you'll intentionally follow the guidance God has for you?
Gracious Heavenly Father, we love you, we adore you, we trust you, we thank you. We are yours. In Jesus' name, amen.
LA: Amen. That was great, Tracy. I hope all our listeners went through that too. I don't know how you felt, Mark, but I got a little bit of answers about something I've been thinking about at work.
TM: Would love to hear a little more, whatever feels good and right to share. Again it's so good for your listeners to be able to hear how this is experienced, which varies so widely between people and times.
LA: Well, I'm happy to share unless you wanna go first, Mark?
MR: No. Go ahead, Leah.
LA: So here's something... And I'm a little embarrassed to share this because it is such a first-world problem that I have in my job. I feel very lucky to have my job. But as many folks have done since the beginning of the pandemic, me... Myself and my co-workers have all been working from home. We used to work together in an office. And there was a real learning curve at the beginning for several months when I felt like I got hardly nothing done [chuckle] at home while I was learning how to be in a physical space with my husband and three children and doing everything with my colleagues virtually. And so it was very hard at the beginning. And then after a few months, I really got into a new swing or a new kind of rhythm with my work that's not so confined to the schedule of commuting that I used to be in. And I... So I used to commute back and forth to the office.
And so I worked a set number of hours in the middle of the day. And what I found as our working from home period went on is that actually I tend to do a lot better when I chunk my work over a longer period of time during the day but in shorter chunks. So I will wake up very early in the morning and do a workout and then do an hour-and-a-half of work. And then do breakfast with my children, and then do two hours of work. And then take a walk with the dogs, [chuckle] and then do a little work. So I really got myself into a very different schedule. All this is background information. So what happened is that about a week ago we were having a meeting with our staff team, and my boss said, "Pretty soon we should start thinking about coming back into the office in person." And I just had this physical reaction to that news.
And my first thought is like, "I don't wanna go back in person. I like this whole rhythm that I'm got going on." And for a few days, I was just thinking, "Well, Leah, you're being a brat. These are first-world problems, and at some point everyone has to go back into the office in person." So as you led us through this physical exercise, I felt the physical, I felt the closing up of my chest, I felt the tension in my head, I felt the fear of my loss of freedom, but also my loss of productivity. I think I've come to see I solve problems better when I give them two hours and then take a break and take a walk. I feel like I come to each bit of work fresher. So I've just felt this intense fear around losing this new this workflow and also real fear about, fear of speaking up about it.
But as I was going through this exercise, you know what I felt like... And you said, What do you desire to do? I just felt like I desire to spread out, I wanna spread out my arms and spread out my legs and go running through a field, and what I... It's just exactly what I can't do in a cramped office with people all around me. And so I imagine myself taking a walk through a field, this is a place where I like to go walk with my dogs and I often do in the middle of the day, the place is really pretty, and I imagine myself walking through a field. When you said like, What do you imagine, do what you would imagine that you wanna do to spread out. So I imagined myself walking through a field, and then you said, And where is God in that? And I feel like in my little imagination in my mind's eye, like a little tingling in my pocket, like my cell phone's ringing [chuckle] And I see myself looking down at my cell phone and answering email on my cell phone and thinking, you know, I do. I am available a lot, I do do a lot of work...
From a lot of different places, it's just with a different physical presence. It's almost as if I feel God on my cell phone, tethering me to the work that I do. But also it gives me life and that I enjoy in this variety of different spaces. So my action item, what I felt like was my action item from this experience was to not let go so easily of what I've learned about myself, to not give up the ways that I've learned that I work better, and maybe it starts with me expressing out loud to my co-workers. This is something that I don't wanna lose, that I've learned that makes my work better.
TM: How does that sit with you as a next step? That's all so beautiful, by the way, but this idea of expressing this to your co-workers, how does that sit with you?
LA: Oh, that's terrifying. I don't wanna do that at all [chuckle] 'cause I wanna be a team player. I don't want anyone to judge me and there's so much fear around saying what we really feel, even if we really feel that it's coming from our understanding of what God would have for us. I still have more fear of people than I do of God, or maybe I have more fear of people than I have faith in God protecting my career or protecting my reputation.
TM: I can totally understand that. And there's a reason why we use the word attunement instead of discernment, because discernment really gets at hearing God's voice, but we use attunement because it's a whole different set of muscles needed to take what we hear and follow it.
LA: So say more about the difference between attunement and discernment, do you think that attuning means not necessarily the action step, but more of the perceiving step?
TM: Well, we would hold them both up, where the first part really is hearing, giving our best effort towards hearing God's guidance for us, and then the actual following part is letting God's guidance, our best shot at discerning God's guidance be the key guide posts, we pay attention to in responding to whatever the situation might be, and that's not an easy task, like you said, this might be my best sense of God's guidance, but it's terrifying to think about bringing this to my co-workers or whatever... Wherever God might be leading you. But we find that with practice and repetition, people get better at the responding following part because they see God's faithfulness in it, they see how good it is.
LA: Mark is more practiced than I am. So tell me, Mark, do you still come out of this exercise with the feeling of terror at your next step action items?
MR: Not in this case, there have been other cases in which going through this exercise, I've come out with things that were really quite frightening to me actually. And... But in this case not. But I just wanna say for our listeners that... First of all, Leah, what you described was beautiful and this really well developed story. I just wanna say to our listeners, if you didn't get that much, it's really okay. [chuckle] 'Cause sometimes I've done this and I come out feeling like, "Well, I'm a loser in the attunement exercise because this isn't as intuitive to me." Obviously Leah it is intuitive to you. So I just wanna say to listeners that if you were working with us in this and you did this and you're saying, "Oh man, I didn't come up with that much." It's really okay. [chuckle]
LA: I would totally affirm that. It's totally okay if you get nothing. Try it three times before you decide it doesn't work for you. [chuckle]
MR: Yeah. Yeah. And it's very different 'cause I'm not one that pays attention to my body like that. That's not how I'm naturally wired to pay attention. So it's much more of a learning experience for me than I think for others, but I just wanted to reassure folks who are listening that you don't necessarily have to come up with this amazing story and that it's quite beautiful. So Leah... But I'm glad. It was wonderful, it was... I'm glad you shared that and...
LA: Give us another perspective, Mark. How did this exercise strike you today?
MR: Well, so for me, what was sort of the presenting issue from my work is that there is a chunk of my work that has felt very secure and safe and predictable, partly because of strong funding and other thing. It just is... In my work, some of it's quite unpredictable, then there's this thing I've really counted on, and I've just learned within the last day that that thing may not be as predictable as I have been believing, and I've felt a lot of anxiety about that. And... I mean what's going on is actually really good. It's just that in the larger picture it's really good in terms of this piece that is mine, it makes it more uncertain and I like things to be certain and I like things to be safe and predictable. And so I come in with that anxiety. And so as we were doing the exercise, it was pretty easy to identify that. And for me, anxiety generally goes into my stomach. So you would say, Tracy, so what does it feel like? It's like an automatic dryer. It's like the stuff is just tumbling around in there, and I can feel that.
Okay. That's how I'm feeling. So what do I wanna do? Oh man, I just wanna fix it. Man, I just wanna turn off the dryer, I wanna sort out the clothes and make it safe and predictable again, using whatever I can come up with to do that. That's my inclination. But then you say, "Well, now picture God coming in." And that was a very strange thing for me, 'cause you said, "Well, what does God look like? What's on God's face?" And I pictured Jesus. And I don't even know quite how to describe it. Partly there's certainly compassion. Like, "Okay, He gets me and I don't have to be ashamed in front of Jesus." But it was almost a little bit of sadness like, "Oh no, you're doing this again to yourself," [chuckle] but it was a tender sadness. It wasn't a judgmental sadness. And then actually what came to mind... And this doesn't often happen to me in quite this way, but were two Scriptures. And the first one was out of the Sermon on the Mount, and it was, "Can you by worrying add a single hour of span to your life?" And I know the answer to that. But again, what I experienced was it was coming with compassion and kindness and grace. It wasn't like a shaming, "What's wrong with you? You're worrying again."
And so that was good, but then the other thing... And then it's like, "What's the action step?" And another passage in the Scripture came to mind. And that was this passage out of... A real familiar passage out of Proverbs 3 that in my translation, the one I use says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don't rely... Do not rely on your own insight." The older translation, "Don't lean on your own understanding. And then in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." And so for me, it was the middle two line... Well, it's the trust in the Lord for sure, but let go of my need to do... To fix it all with my own insight. And in all your ways, acknowledge Him. So literally the very specific action step for me is when this anxiety comes to just in silently or out loud, depending on the context, to just acknowledge God, know that God, You are sovereign and You're gracious and You got it and so I'm just gonna give it to You. Again, even if I'm gonna have to do that 100 times because it'll come back.
So and Tracy I have a question for... And I know you've thought about this. And Leah, I expect you have, too. I think for some of our listeners, the idea that your body is... It could be active in attunement or even discernment is a different idea. And that's a new thought. And maybe some are even thinking, "Oh, that sounds kind of new agey. Or it sounds... " I don't know. Is it biblical to think that your body can actually be helpful in this sort of thing? Is that okay from a Christian perspective?
TM: We like to talk about it in terms of the subconscious. 'Cause most people are awake to this idea that you've got what your mind is consciously aware of. But then 99.9% of what you take in or decisions you make are actually made by the subconscious, kind of instinctive responses. If you've driven home this way a thousand times, you don't even remember how you got from A to B. 'Cause your subconscious takes over all of that. Your conscious mind is elsewhere. So the subconscious... That's some of our deeper response patterns. And we will equate that to our heart, our inner being, how it talks to that in Scripture. Out of the heart, the wellspring of the heart, the mouth speaks. That kind of stuff. So paying attention to what's deeper below just conscious awareness is something we feel is highly embedded throughout Scripture. This idea of search me and know me, God, that there are things that aren't in our conscious awareness that are there, that are part of us, that we want God to help us bring to light. That's the subconscious.
The same way you might think about paying attention to body language, it's that same idea. There's more that's being expressed in me and others in the surrounding context, than you have based on just surface level direct evidence. And that's the whole idea of attunement. How do we better hear or gain an understanding of the deeper dynamics at play? So body language. Also conscious awareness of your own physical body. That's all part of this developing the deeper ears to hear.
MR: Oh, that's helpful. I like that. You know what, it makes me think. I hadn't thought about this 'til you were saying this, that there is a Greek verb that shows up in the gospels a lot. It's usually translated, "Have compassion." That's what it's translated. And that's a fine translation. The verb literally means, "Your gut is moved." It's literally that kind of language. And so when it says Jesus had compassion for the crowd, the literal translation is his gut was moved. The Good Samaritan uses that same verb, that when he looked upon the man who'd been beaten up, his gut was moved. So it just occurs to me that there's actually a... in addition to what you just said about subconscious, which I think is really helpful. For those who are saying, "Man, I'd really like to have a verse that says this is okay." [chuckle] I think there's one. The other thing, you just have this... Remember the woman touches Jesus to be healed. And Jesus feels the power going out of Him. Now that's a physical feeling when the spiritual thing is happening. So I think the fact that God made us full people, human, body, soul.
Our soul is not just this inner piece. It's like the wholeness of it says, "Yeah. Actually, your body really matters and can give you a way in to see what's going on in your mind and heart and in your subconscious."
LA: Tracy, what do you feel like is the most difficult thing for someone new coming to this sort of a practice to take an experience or a thought or inkling if they might get in this sort of exercise and then take it into their work? 'Cause I just had a great experience doing this exercise. But then when I'm on a Zoom meeting tomorrow, I don't know if I'm gonna be able [chuckle] to hold on to this feeling that I had in this very contemplated exercise. So how do you really get from A to Z and transfer this into your work?
TM: Yes. We do really encourage people to try out the faithfulness of God. Even if we don't feel like, "Well, maybe I didn't hear that right." Yes, we acknowledge that we don't hear His voice perfectly or even well. But we trust that God will honor our efforts to genuinely try to hear His voice and follow it. And so we will encourage people in all scenarios to write it down, keep it in front of you, know it's gonna be hard. And seek to follow that guidance in that Zoom call tomorrow. But we'll also say look for friendly scrimmage opportunities.
LA: Say more about... What's a friendly scrimmage opportunity?
TM: Yes. So Giving Voice to the Body, that's just one of a wide variety of attunement exercises we use. One of the things about it is really designed for things that are like we've talked about, stirring something deeper at play. And that's really helpful with, especially some of this body type work. Because usually, the stronger feelings make it easier to attune to what's going on. But one of the downsides is it's a higher stakes situation, which is why it's stirring something stronger within us. For whatever reason, our body is telling us it's more important there are high stakes at play. So one of the things we encourage people to try is try attunement exercises. And that's simply putting a situation before God.
Kind of just listening for God to show you some of the dynamics at play, discerning one or two guide posts God has for you. And then following it. And doing that with something that's lower stakes. So a friendly scrimmage. It's like if you're playing a friendly scrimmage basketball or soccer game, it's like the stakes aren't really high. It's not the World Series. It's just a neighborhood game. Do it when you're trying to discern, "Okay, where do we... How do I prep for this next meeting? Where do we wanna go for lunch? [chuckle] How do we wanna think about who's going to take this new potential customer?" Whatever the case might be, something that's... Again, the stakes aren't as high. As you practice repetitively, hearing God's guidance and following, you see God's guidance. You build those muscles of just being more comfortable with what is initially uncomfortable, that God leads us to respond in different ways than we're used to. And it gets easier.
LA: As you are saying this, I remember this piece of Psalm 139, which comes at the end, verse 23, where the writer, it's often attributed to David, says, "Test me and know my anxious thoughts." The author's asking God to put him through a little diagnostic test [chuckle] and find out where the anxious thoughts are. And I think this exercise sort of is that. It's like a diagnostic test from God. But Tracy, you're also saying the opposite. And then flip it around. Put God to the test. Do a little test on God and see, "No, God are you really faithful? When I'm hearing something from You and I put it into practice, what happens? What happens after that?"
TM: Yes. We just find that He's so good. He just helps regardless of the situation. And not that it means that it's gonna go the way we want it to. That's not what it means. But we respond in better, healthier, more life-giving ways. We are more at peace. We are able to bring more of God's will and God's ways into whatever the situation might be. And things ultimately are better.
LA: Tracy, what's your biggest hope for someone going through this type of an exercise?
TM: My biggest hope is that they taste and see how good it is to experience God in this kind of way where it's... They experience first-hand, "Oh, God does see me in this particular situation. He does care. He is with me in this. And He will give me good guidance to help me respond well, good purpose." And that they will feel compelled to invest in it. 'Cause this is a... We talk about spiritual attunement as a capacity. A skill set. A mindset that we learn, like learning a new sport or a new instrument. And with intentional practice and repetition and trying different stuff out and seeing what works and doing more of that, we get better and better at it. And there's just more fullness of life.
LA: I love it. This was fun. This was a different kind of episode, Mark, than we've usually done. We usually talk about things. [chuckle]
MR: Yes. It's usually much safer from our side if we ask all the questions.
LA: We usually just come in and talk about someone else's work. And we ask them a bunch of questions. And then pass the baton. That's very comfortable. [laughter] But this was very... I do feel myself a little bit like a tuning fork that you would strike on a surface. Like being shaken up [chuckle] and vibrated and making a noise. And then something happens after you strike a tuning fork. I don't know, you sing a song. You start to...
And something happens after. It demands a next step. So, thank you, Tracy, for leading us through this.
And if listeners wanna tune in more to you or get more exercises or spiritual practices from your organization, Attune, how would they best do that, Tracy?
TM: We would encourage them to go to our website, attunetogrow.org, all spelled out. And contact us to learn more. But we'd love to help people, especially if they've got a team or a group they'd like to go on this journey with. We would love to connect with them and just give them some helpful exercises to help them practice hearing God's guidance for their daily work and living into it.
LA: I love that. Tracy, thank you so much for leading us through that and for joining us today on the podcast. It's really been a pleasure.
MR: Yes. Thank you.
TM: Thank you for this opportunity.
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