Wow! Nice morning today. My long walk with Scout was refreshing - around 65 degrees and clear. It was, however, one of those cobweb mornings. I took pretty much everything I have to free my mind and my spirit from a low-hanging cloud that's been difficult to shake.
There's the key word: "difficult". For too many of us, spirituality is either easy or it is non-existent; pick one and get on with it! I'm not sure if it's the result of hearing so many misleading messages about faith, or if it's because we live in an entitlement culture where results are everything and the journey is optional at best; my guess is we're dealing with a potent combination of the two. But the net effect is a tendency to engage our spiritual lives this way: "Fill me with warm, fuzzy feelings right now, or I'll look elsewhere for my satisfaction."
So this morning I had to fight for my peace, wrangle for my assurance, choose to believe in spite of the distance I felt from God, and pretty much apply the practice of a devotional orientation regardless of the disinterest my gut-level response suggested.
Bottom line: If I only ever launch my new day in a faith-oriented direction when I already feel faith-oriented in my heart - then the entire point of engaging the journey would be lost! This pilgrim path we are on - and I really am a "Pilgrim in Progress" - is more about our decision to move forward than it is about getting that constant "God-moment" in our hearts.
Sure, those "God-moments" are more likely to show up when we are moving in the correct direction. But that's not why we do it. We move forward because we are faithful; we move forward because we understand that real, soul-level, peace is neither shallow nor is it cheap; we move forward because that is what a pilgrim does.
Each day this week I'll be sharing a small excerpt from my new book, "The Unmaking of a Part-time Christian". Enjoy!
Love and blessings - DEREK
* Moving away from part-time Christian status is not one decision
but a series of decisions, sometimes several times a day. This journey
is a cradle-to-grave adventure, an ongoing challenge, and the process
likely didn't begin in one definitive moment. Pilgrimage is driven by
movement – forward and circling back - full with amazing possibility
and the promise of reinvention.
* People often asked Jesus to explain what was consequential. We
also need to be focused on what is essential, what really makes a
difference. Just a few elemental tools, the right ones for the job;
that is all we really need.
* My life has become a kind of scratch-pad where powerful things
are jotted down. Images of faith; moments of grace; encounters of
love; evidences of hope; revelation in direct proportion to my ability
to listen and also my willingness to open my eyes - even if only a
little - to see...
- The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian, p. 137 (Derek Maul, Upper
Room Books, 2009)