So, it's been a while since my last post. I've had plenty going on in my life lately. In October, I started an intensive "cohort" with my boyfriend and The House of Saint Michael the Archangel (whew...mouthful!). We are reading through the early church fathers, many whom chose the life of a desert solitary. It's been interesting reading the perspective of one whose context is so vastly different from mine, and yet, finding a ton of good applicable stuff for my own life. We meet every other month to discuss the readings.
I had this new post in my drafts since October. I was going to post about our second reading of Evagrios the Solitary, but then time passed and we now had our 2nd meeting and have moved on to our 3rd set of readings. I realized that I might have put too much pressure on myself to write about things in a fairly academic and well-crafted way. This might be a mistake, because I will sit on big writing projects instead of actually doing them. From now on, I will commit to write what I'm inspired to write. If I need more time to post something more detailed I need to figure out how to do it in bite-sized pieces and not feel like I have to have a thesis paper every time I write and post.
Actually this fits well with where I'm at with my faith. It's a vicious cycle, and it goes something like this: I get in a slump and at some point I realize how blind and lost I have been. I turn back to God and renew my commitment to spending time with Him. I set up devotionals and books and other things. Aaaaand then I fail to follow through because I made it way more complicated then it needs to be. And the process repeats...so much that each time feels even worse...it's hard to believe that God is the Father in the Prodigal Son story if the son KEEPS ON doing the same thing over and over and over again.
The problem, is that I'm making it about ME and how I can "pull myself up" on my own power. Of course I'm going to fail, I fail at the gate because I'm trusting more in myself than the One who can actually bring changes to my heart. The sermon this past Sunday at Church of the Ascension really brought this home to me: Yes, prepare the way for the Lord (which means prepare your heart)...however I need Christ even to level and fill in the bumps and crevices of my own heart before the Spirit can enter into it. I need God all the time, not just when I "can't handle it myself". I can't handle it, period.
The second problem, is that I somehow think change can happen overnight. This is definitely not how heart-changes work. I get so impatient with myself when I don't get things right away. I need to be more patient with myself. I also need to perhaps not set myself up for failure by thinking I need to do ALL the things in order to get in a relationship with God. I need to focus on the small things: 5 minutes of intentional silence before God, saying a quick prayer when I feel tension at work, smiling at a homeless person instead of ignoring them, a small thank you before a meal, making sure I get sleep and rest so I am awake enough to go through my day and be a healthy person.
Basically, I need to do really the bare minimum with the hope that God will follow through and make the path straight so that Christ can help me with all the rest. It starts here and if I try to jump ahead to the "next level of enlightenment" it's not going to work. As I mentioned before, Richard Foster in his book on Prayer explains that Simple Prayer is the kind of prayer that everyone needs, no matter how far down the spiritual path they have walked. To deny that basic, primal spiritual need for God is to deny the whole thing. No one is beyond the simple stuff. Indeed, I am starting to believe more and more that simple things are really what our faith journey is about.
Ok, so this blog didn't end up simple, but I had to start that way. :) Just like how God came to earth in such a simple state. A child. I need to likewise, become a child, in order to more fully receive Him.