The Path To Wholeness
I'm trying something out today, and I'll have to tell you how it goes as I move. I'm going to take my own advice, practice what I preach, if you will.
Not that I don't strive to do that, mind you... It's just that sometimes I need to actually practice what I'm preaching. I mean that in the purest sense possible. Like, I need to work at it, make it happen, and actually do the things.
It's a good thing that I get the chance to share these things with you all because it holds me accountable. Now I kind of have to report back at some point.
Here's what happened:
Yesterday, I preached on how the path out of suffering is marked by perseverance, which leads to self-realization then hope, confidence and love. I didn't come up with that---the Apostle Paul did, and he knew a thing or two about suffering and love.
I woke up today with those thoughts in my head, and armed with a list of spiritual practices to perform in order to figure it all out. But like so many best laid plans... all of my ideas promptly fell apart before I even began.
It was this line from a book I've been reading by Michael Gungor that derailed me:
We cannot practice spirituality in order to discover freedom; the practice of spirituality is freedom.I'm fairly task-oriented so I don't necessarily like hearing that accomplishing the tasks of spiritual formation might not actually be the best way out of suffering toward freedom and wholeness.
And the truth of the matter is that it's the actual practice of spirituality itself that is freeing. Prayer, meditation, contemplation, reflection, reading, journalling, creating art, acts of service, humility, rest... all of these practices liberate us.
When we begin to realize this, it has the power to change us forever. If we enter into spiritual practices with a checklist mentality, we will never know freedom.
Freedom comes when we engage in spiritual practice as an end to itself. When we are able to let go of our expected outcomes, and surrender to the practices themselves we open the door for true transformation.
May you discover ways to simply be in the midst of spiritual practices today. May you pray without an agenda... find moments to be silent and reflective... create, read and reflect... seek places to serve... find moments to rest and be.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and forever. Amen.