I had lunch with one of our pastors today. While we do have some differences, we are very similar in our personalities and psychological makeup. I was sharing with him some of the struggles I have had in my spiritual journey, including some regarding finding meaningful spiritual disciplines that keep me growing and moving forward. I face the paradoxical situation of craving both routine and variety, so I have some difficulty in establishing a devotional life that is consistently meaningful. I have felt guilt at times, because those disciplines that I enjoy most don’t necessarily fit the traditional mold for “personal devotions.” For example, I enjoy Bible study, but many people see that as being informational rather than formational and therefore inappropriate for a devotional time.
My pastor really affirmed me and helped me find some freedom in this area. He encouraged me to find a way to worship and to discover God in ways that come naturally to me. He went so far as to say, “You don’t have to read My Utmost for His Highest.” I have enjoyed reading some mystic writers and sometimes I long to have experiential faith like theirs, but I am slowly learning to embrace the person God made me. I may never be a Teresa of Avila or St. John of the Cross, but I can relate to God in unique ways that are personal to me.
On a related note, my pastor noted that, when we say we love someone, we are really saying that we love who we are when we are with them. We are after all inherently selfish, and it runs counter to our nature to love someone with unalloyed motives. It’s maybe not ideal, but it’s an acceptable reality. I am not all the way to where I want to be in love with Jesus, but I am learning to love who I am when I’m with Him. My deepest spiritual longing is to really know Christ–not just to live morally, not just to be guided by superior principles, but to have an active, growing relationship with Jesus.