I recently sat and talked with a person from our community of faith who’s experiencing a tremendous amount of grief. Because our culture puts a high premium on quick remedies as well as getting on with it, many who are in a place of grief struggle with the sense that they’re supposed to be “working through” their grief. While it’s helpful to bear in mind that there are various ‘stages’ of grief, sometimes knowing that can be a hindrance because it results in a perspective that we’re on the clock, so to speak; that I’m supposed to be at a certain place in my grief process by a certain period of time. The problem is, when it comes to the grieving, there is no one-size-fits-all process. So, when I suggested to this person that despite where they think they should be in their grief process, the truth is they’re actually right where they should be, this came as a surprise. In fact, it had the effect of suddenly freeing them from a self-imposed captivity to a pre-determined societal norm. “You mean, it’s OK to be where I’m at in my grief right now?” was the question put to me. My answer: “Absolutely! You’re right where God wants you, and you don’t need to put any mental energy in trying to ‘move forward’.” That was welcomed news to this person.
Later that day, when I shared this experience with Caroline, she responded that it’s the same thing with regard to each of our spiritual journeys. To be honest, I hadn’t made that connection before, but she’s right. When it comes to our own discipleship pathways, each of us if right where we’re supposed to be. And as I’ve mulled over this newfound truth, I, too, have found that it has freed me from thinking that I’m supposed to be further along my spiritual pathway, that I’ve somehow fallen behind and have to play catch-up!
Spiritually, I’m right where God wants and needs me to be! That’s amazing! If this is the case—and I believe it is—that means my devotional/prayer life is not about forcing myself to pick up the pace in my endeavor to grow spiritually, but simply to be with and enjoy God’s fellowship in the best way I know how today. How wonderful!
At the same time, I’m also reminded of this Max Lucado quote: “God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you there. He wants you to be just like Jesus.” If this statement is true—and I believe it is—that means that God does intend for us to grow and mature spiritually, but that it’s really up to him to ultimately make that happen. We just need to give him something to work with. That is, we need to do our part, which is incorporating into our lives a time of daily devotions and prayer. AND, when we begin to sense in our spirit that God is trying to push us a little deeper in our prayer/devotional life, then we respond by asking God to show us what that might look like.
Personally, for many years I’ve been content with my daily morning devotions. I’ve settled into a comfortable pattern that has been spiritually fulfilling. However, over the past month or so, I’ve noticed that God’s been stirring my soul and is nudging me to go deeper, and maybe even to change up my purpose and patterns of how I spend my time with him. First, I sense that God is wanting me to increase my time with him beyond just our morning fellowship so that I’m setting aside brief times throughout the day to intentionally be with him. Second, it feels like’s he wants me to change the pattern of my devotions to a more prayerful model. In fact, I’m believe I’m being led to incorporate some form of the ancient Christian devotional practice of “The Daily Office” (Google it) into my daily devotional life.
I’m sharing all of this with you simply to let you know that if you’re of the thinking that you should be further along your spiritual pathway than you currently are, then you can let that go. Because the truth is, you’re right where you’re supposed to be. AND, if, as you journey in fellowship with God you do begin to sense that what you’ve been doing is not quite as enriching as it has been all along, that may be a sign that God’s pushing you out a little deeper so that you can become a little bit more like Jesus! When that happens, then allow God to reveal what it is he’d like you to change up in your devotional life. I’m pretty sure he’ll be more than happy to show you!