It’s been a little over a year since I started my journey to spiritual recovery. I continue to evaluate things to see where I stand right now. I have made progress but I have not arrived. In fact, I suspect, if understand spiritual development correctly, I will never “arrive.” Therein lies my angst. I like the idea of arriving. The thought of conclusion drives me, motivates me, and inspires me. Often I am more focused on the “end” than the process necessary to get there because the “end” means something has been accomplished and it’s time to move on. Not so with spirituality.
In this journey I struggle with many issues. Many of those issues have lead me to realize that often I am my own worst enemy. My intentions seem right to me, but often not to others. I often judge my present from my past – my distant past. Somehow I thought I could pick up from “there” and move on, which of course is most ridiculous. So in some sense, I am reinventing who I am, what I believe, and how I understand God. Being close to sixty that brings its own set of challenges, not the least of which is having the brain power and emotional stability to handle this transition. My eyes don’t see things the same way anymore. My hears don’t hear things the same way. My mind does not process information the same way. It is all both frustrating and exhilarating.
There have been times when I have almost lost my grip. There have been days when I wonder why even make this investment. There are moments when I think this whole exercise will simply end in futility. It seems, at times, that I am trying to quench my thirst by cupping water in my hands only to realize that more slips through the fingers than reaches the lips. Then again….
I find that my Bible reading is more challenging. The foundational elements of my “faith” though cluttered at times with hollow tradition, have elements of stability that encourage me and propel me forward. I am not afraid to ask hard questions or challenge my belief system. “The Bible says it, I believe it” is no longer appropriate. “What does the Bible say now?” seems to be more applicable.
What challenges me most, are my thoughts about God. Not people who think they are god, but God himself. God as He was in the garden, as He was to Moses, Abraham and David. God as He was in the mind of the prophets. God as He was in Christ. God as He IS today. Certainly a huge undertaking, but one that seems to be coming in bits and pieces.
I freely admit, I may never be able to reflect the words of Peter and the writer of Leviticus, “You shall be holy for I (God) am holy (1Peter 1:16, Lev. 11:44).” No matter how diluted we try to make that word “holy” in order to conform to current lifestyles, it may still be beyond the reach of men like me. However, as it is reflected in Christ, and as a disciple of Christ, it seems there is hope. Hope not for me per se, but Hope because of Christ in me. That gives me a certain level of consolation.
Bottom line — I’m not perfect, but I am forgiven. I have not arrived, but I continue to move forward. My struggles are real, my questions genuine, and my “faith” under construction as it were. And even though that does not bring me complete solace, it does give me hope.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing your may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2)