Living a spiritual life is confusing.
You don't always know where to start. How do you cultivate a meaningful and rich soul-life in a world full of so much noise and so many voices? How do you make sense your own normal life when compared to the extraordinary lives of Moses, Saint Paul, or King David? Are you supposed to be "evangelizing" on a street corner somewhere? Parting seas or walking on water?
Sometimes it's easier to switch off and show up at church occasionally. And even then, which church do you go to and which of the disagreeing pastors do you get behind? Or maybe you just ditch church — not because you hate Jesus or anything, but because you're unsure about all the human mess.
I had been immersed in church for years when I felt it was time to pull out. Perhaps from a different vantage point I'd be able to see more clearly. I decided not to darken the door of church for a few months. With the help of a pastor friend, I learned I could call it a “sabbatical”.
I was sure God was going to give me some kind of burning bush moment. Maybe the clouds would part and a James Earl Jones voice would give me some insight that would change my life. Maybe I'd be visited by an angel in the night and we would chit-chat about how sweet heaven is. Maybe I’d be given visions like Saint John and I’d write them down so as to inspire millions.
None of it happened.
But something unexpected did.
I got braver, more comfortable in the tension. I began release identification with religious dogma. I got more curious, cuddling up close to questions that terrified me. What do I do with Heaven and Hell, other religious traditions, sexual expression, the role of church? In the end I was far more unraveled, far more uncertain, open-handed. But something inside me was bigger.
This is an invitation, by the way. There is a way to make sense of the desert, the wilderness. There’s a way to come out alive, maybe even enjoy the trip. I’m not saying it is comfortable. I am saying you’re not alone. I am not saying I have answers. I am saying it’s okay not to.
If anything, I am now more comfortable in church, because I can allow for people’s humanness. Pastors sometimes speak the word of the Lord and sometimes not. That’s okay. I’m also more comfortable when people need space from church. I get that, too. We’re all working it out.
For over a decade, my head has been in this space. How do I follow God? Do I need a spiritual community? How do I live a meaningful life? What voices do I listen to? Who is Jesus exactly?
Come along for the ride. I post here each week, wrestling the with things we all do.
I hope it can create some space for you to wrestle, too.