Monday, December 31, 2018

Spiritual diving

I’ve often described and imagined life as an ongoing journey (hence the name of this blog).  Over the years, there have been times when I have been more and then less aware of God walking with me.
I will admit that I have often treated God as a kind of silent companion, always there just in case I needed him.

Recently, it has less of the feel of walking and more like swimming (sing a bit of Dorys ‘just keep swimming’).  I can swim, but I’m not necessarily the strongest of swimmers and don’t really like to swim under water or dive deep.  The reality of this stems from a childhood experience that while I could swim underwater back and forth between my parents at a very young age, after my Dad’s death, I no longer would do it.

This seems to have become a metaphor for my spiritual journey as of late.

As a pastor, I am immersed regularly in scripture, worship and prayer.  I do “pray without ceasing” for others, the church and myself.  I wouldn’t say that I have really ever “lost” faith, but more like I was only skimming the surface and not diving deeply in.   There have been times in the past that I had done so, but it’s almost as if I had “forgotten” or just gotten comfortable with staying on the surface.

The past year or so has been extremely difficult for a whole host of reasons, many of which were out of my control.  Skimming along the surface wasn’t working as I was being pulled down into the depths again and again.   There were days that I felt like I was flailing as well as failing.

Yet, in the midst of this, I finally saw God who was always reaching out to me - not to take me back to the surface, but to learn to swim in the depths.   I have fought to get back to where I was comfortable, but was so weighted down by all that I was bearing that I didn’t have enough strength of my own to do so.   There were days when I felt like I was drowning and wanted to just give up.

God wouldn’t let me and kept sending me companions to teach, support and accompany me in the depths.  

God invited me to explore the depths of my own life.   Through the gifts of others own learning to “dive deep” into their own depths, my eyes were opened from fear and uncertainty so that I could begin to see the wonder around me, even as I was and am still struggling.

I do come up for air, but am more willing to dive a bit deeper, knowing that I won’t drown in these depths.  God has carried me through the currents of vulnerability, belovedness, hope, and a greater willingness to live in the moment rather than worrying about the future.

Like our life’s journey, it is not so much about the destination but about where we are in the present time.  I have learned much about myself and who God has created me to be.  I have grow just a little stronger as well as willing to enter into the deep end of life.   It is still scary many times, but as long as I turn to a God - not to rescue me- but to give me the strength, guidance and assurance I need, I keep on swimming.

Some of the companions for me have been a series of books and authors who have guided me.  They are:
Readings on the Enneagram (which helped me to look more at myself in a different way)
Henri Nouwen (who reminded me of my belovedness in Gods eyes)
Brené Brown (who is teaching me the gifts of vulnerability and rising strong)

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