Beige Spirituality

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There's something about coming before things that are different, distinct, other worldly, and dare I say holy. As human beings there is a craving for spirituality. We are spiritual beings who were created in the image of God and who truly crave to be in the presence of God.

Now, to be clear, we're not just physical husks with a spirit bottled inside (like some kind of djinni or something) wherein at the right time the soul will escape this horrid physical realm. Nope. That's not what I'm talking about. We're holistic beings, body and soul wrapped up together with mind and strength. You can add salt to water and the two become one, unable to fully separate or become distinct from one another later.

To be honest, in our world today, there is a spiritual restlessness. There is a desire for something more and we seek more—some with reckless abandon and others with timidity. It is sought through drugs, it is sought through science and philosophy, it is sought through meditation or chakras, or the smorgasbord of religions we have access to today.

It is our restless hearts seeking something greater, something "not us", something (dare I again say) holy. And it is in Jesus where our restless hearts find rest.

Good.

Now how do you deal with this? How do you deal with being with Jesus?

Too many times people say that we come to Jesus and that's it. That's the end goal. He's your "get out of hell free card". He is "fire insurance". If you have Jesus then that's all you need.

You have Jesus, now what?

There is a need for followers of Jesus to seek Jesus and be in His presence always.

But how?

This is where the idea of the spiritual disciplines comes in. And also the guilt.

We hear these great stories of men and women of faith coming to God in prayer for hours at a time. We hear these stories of men and women of faith who spend hours immersed in scriptures. We hear these stories of men and women of faith spending time in solitude reflecting on God, seeking Jesus.

And we feel guilty for not doing it ourselves.

I know I feel guilty. The good Lord knows we've tried. I've tried these disciplines. I'm horrible about spending time in silence and solitude. This last January I spent time at a monastery for prayer and reflection. No wifi. No cell reception. The monks lived in silence save for a half hour after the morning mass and a half hour before the evening worship. And for those two half hours I yakked their ears off. And they didn't say anything because, well, they're monks.

I'm bad at fasting. I try journaling but that comes in spurts and phases.

There are times where I'm just not red hot like these other great people of faith. I'm not on fire like they are. I struggle to do the spiritual disciplines at times.

I've learned it's okay to be beige in my spirituality. We're all wired different. Like I said, I'm a massive extrovert and spending time in silence and solitude is very hard on me. Now honestly it does stretch me, but I can only take so much before I break (hence those poor monks).

We can feel so guilty for not doing all these great spiritual disciplines. In fact there are some that make us feel so guilty we just want to lovingly in truth smack them upside the head and tell them to shut it.

It's okay to be beige.

We're all different in who we are. That's the wonderfulness of being a unique human being made in God's image. We all have our unique ways of coming to Him. (To be clear, I'm not saying that all paths lead to God...instead there are different spiritual disciplines for different people).

Spiritual disciplines are like tools to be used. You don't use a hammer for a screw and you don't use a crescent wrench when pliers are called for (I don't know much about tools but I think that's right). We don't have to use them all. Take the tool chest out, look at what spiritual disciplines are there. Which one's suit you best for the time you're at in life. Then use that one. And then be beige about it. It's okay. You don't have to be a super hero, just faithful in seeking Jesus daily to be in His presence. And different tools for different people will allow you to come to him in your unique way through these disciplines.

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A great book in the same vein is Michael Horton's Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World (Zondervan, 2014).  We did it as a book club last summer and was refreshing - www.ordinarybook.com

 

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Thanks, Chad, I'll have to look up that one. A little while back I read A Contrarian's Guide to Knowing God by Larry Osborne and he had some good stuff I borrowed from. I recently picked up Flunking Sainthood by Jana Riess which I heard was really good as well.