I am excited to share my interview with Melissa Thompson.
Melissa H. Thompson has many roles: wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, small business owner, church leader, community advocate, non-profit volunteer. As Thompson daily lives into these roles, the overarching consideration that informs every endeavor, every conversation, every decision is how, as a Christian, her actions serve God and grow God’s Kingdom.
“I am passionate about God and the love God shows me and each of us every day,” Thompson says. “As I have matured in my relationship with God, I have become a committed student of God’s Word, eager to read and share the divinely-inspired text with others. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and I daily see God’s Power at work in my life and in the world around me. My deepest desire is to walk on the path God has ordained for me.”
Now on to the interview.
How do you pray?
I cultivated a prayer practice years and years ago and it has changed my life. It’s not a perfect practice but the consistency has had such a positive impact on me. I am an early morning riser, sometimes up at 5am. I grab my coffee and my favorite spot on the couch. In that quiet space, I meet God. Often I feel as if God is waiting on me. The practice looks like this; I usually read a short devotional, some scripture associated with it. Then I get real comfortable, close my eyes and begin taking really deep breaths. I envision God is in my breath.
So as I breathe in, I’m actually breathing God into my very being and I imagine breathing out everything that is not of God. I do this over and over until I find myself in a calmer state and a natural breathing rhythm. I may begin to pray. But I’m trying to do a better job of not just jumping in but listening. I stay in the silence, holding there. When I do begin to speak, in my mind, I try to start with gratitude and thankfulness instead of rushing straight into what I think I need. I pause often and breathe into each moment. I listen for God’s still small voice. This time could go on for 15 or 20 minutes or longer.
How do you discern the actions God wants you to take?
When I feel like I hear God speaks to my heart or gives me some direction, I often pause at those moments. Sometimes I will write down what I think I hear just for later reflection. How do these words make me feel? Comforted and peaceful or anxious and nervous. God always leans toward the peaceful and I typically lean toward the nervousness.
When I hear God speak a certain action, I will ask God to allow me to see it or hear it again, to confirm it in me. I have to be careful to make sure I am hearing God and not myself. Hearing God is a practice in itself. God always confirms it over and over if need be. God is so patient with me. Sometimes I will bring my husband in on it and he will pray seeking God’s will. If he hears it too, that’s usually confirmation enough for me.
Through a series of ‘asks’ from God, I found myself on a spiritual journey. By the time God asked me to sell my business to write my first book, The Me Disease, I felt like I had no choice. It was the natural next step. As I began writing the book, I did not know where the book was going to go. I just started writing about my own spiritual journey, a medical crisis and the lessons I learned through that time period. I definitely did not know that the book would reveal its greatest truth, “It is not about me. It is about us.”
God put me on a path to write The Me Disease but in the writing I discovered so many other truths about God. One thing I realized was I have been called to write. I feel the most alive when I am writing. Living into that calling has created a more fulfilling life, full of Love, trust and obedience to God. I would not trade it for anything.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why?
Oh, I am a reader. I call myself a ‘book junkie.” I love Richard Rohr. He is a Franciscan monk who founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico. I love all his writings, Falling Upward, Immortal Diamond and his daily blog. I also love Brene’ Brown with her Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly, She has taught how embracing vulnerability will lead to more authentic relationships. Pete Scazzero of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and the Daily Office which you would love Rich. He teaches about coming back to God throughout your day through centering prayer and meditation. Love Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton. These are my spiritual teachers. Many of them taught me what contemplative prayer practice is all about.
I noticed you offer speaking engagements. What are some of the topics you share with your community?
My favorite thing to talk about is God. I love sharing my own experiences of God working in my life in hopes that others will begin to recognize God at work in theirs. I love to encouraging people how to have a deeper relationship with God. Spirituality should not be boring. God is not boring. Why should our faith be? I also enjoy sharing how I hear from God, in hopes of teaching others how they too can hear. When we develop our relationship with God through communication with God, that’s listening and responding, we develop a friendship with God. There’s nothing like it. Once we develop our relationship with God, then we can begin to understand how we work within the Body of Christ. We each play a role. “It is not about me, it is about us.”
What are some upcoming projects you wish to share?
My book, The Me Disease, was release March of 2019 and became the #1 New Release on Amazon in Adult Christian Ministry. Since that time, I am happy to announce that the audio book for The Me Disease is now available on Audible. I hope to have the accompaniment workbook out in the next few months. Along with this, I am currently working on my second book, OTHERS; the Ripple Effect and cannot wait until it is available on Amazon as well.
Where can people best follow you and learn more about your work?
The best place to follow me is through my website where I post a once-a-week inspirational blog. Also, any new offerings will be announced through that site and my speaking calendar is listed there as well. You can also follow me on; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
I have availibility for 1-2 more one on one coaching clients. Contact me for more information.
Writing as a Spiritual Practice: Focusing on God’s Purpose for Your Life – This course helps you to access the rich spiritual stories that lie deeply within you. Words are powerful. They help you understand yourself better – and therefore divine God’s purpose in your life.
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