Where you will be when He reveals Himself to you? I didn’t know that was a question I’d ever answer, simply because I didn’t expect it to come up. Spiritually, I’m open-minded. I can’t say that any one path is the right path because frankly, that’s not for me to decide. I accept that my powers of that nature are nonexistent; how can I, a sinner, claim that anyone else is living his/her life falsely? Bottom line, I can’t. Up until this moment, I couldn’t even claim that of myself. I lived how I wanted to, and I prayed often. But to pray with fervor? With intent, with passion and courage? That was a rare occasion. And isn’t that what I preach about most often: courage? How hypocritical of me.
Recently, I’ve brought about trying times. I won’t say “fallen on trying times” because I brought them on myself. To be tested I believe you fall upon difficulty by pure circumstance; somehow some things go wrong. But I don’t believe that these tests just happen. If they were coincidence, they would just suck. We call them tests for a reason: we are being tried to our furthest limits, to the greatest extent, to see just how far we can go before we break. How do we pass or fail? Not my place to decide. But these times, the ones I’m going through, these aren’t coincidence either. At least in my case, I believe these events happened because I strayed just a little too far, my priorities got just a little too skewed. I lost sight of the bigger picture, and the bigger picture is that I am meant to be a disciple.
I use that term here to mean someone who seeks truth and tries to live their life according to that truth. Whatever this truth may be is different for each and every one of us. Those truths can change for us. Example: I like pickles. When I say I like pickles, it’s the truth. I used to not like pickles, so that wouldn’t have been true for me two years ago. See my point? And when I say disciple, I don’t mean to compare myself or any of the rest of us to the disciples in the Bible. Personally, I can’t place myself on that level. I’m not of that caliber and very well may never be. I don’t know that I’d want to be; that’s a lot of responsibility. But if that’s where He calls me, that’s where I have to go.
It’s tricky, too, because we’re taught that religion has no place. To openly believe in God and at least try to live by His Word takes tremendous bravery. Religion and spirituality must mean that you are racist, sexist, ageist, prejudiced, whatever. And so what? You very well may be, but you can also be those things without religion. And so what? Even if you are those things, you are no different than the rest of us, and we no different than you. We are all imperfect and impure; how that impurity manifests changes from one of us to the other. Calling names and pointing fingers doesn’t abolish the sin; it only calls attention to that person’s tendency to judge. Some criticize religion because of what it can stereotype, but others criticize religion because they see no point. If you can live your life without anyone else’s help, be my guest. Do and live as you need to. But I’ll be the first to admit that God has pulled me through circumstances that no other could. Call me weak; I’ll agree with you. I am not strong unless I stand with God.
Speaking of God, let’s discuss that name. This isn’t just a Christian thing. Am I Christian? Yes, because I can’t imagine another path for myself other than the Holy Trinity. But have you ever prayed in a mosque? A synagogue? God abounds in each of these places, and I cannot tell you how much I miss hearing the call to prayer when I’m back in America. Spirituality is fluid and personal, and each of uses it differently. Again, I have no authority to tell you what’s right or wrong, only what I believe for me. A rose by another name would smell as sweet (that’s Shakespeare, bee-tee-dub, from Romeo and Juliet–can’t get me for plagiarism). Admittedly, I don’t actually know what this quote means; I had to Wikipedia it. (Sorry, Mom. I know you taught this in Freshman English.) But I’m gonna use that quote here, because for me, that’s the nature of God and spirituality and religion and righteousness. It isn’t so much what we call the thing; it’s more what that thing is. Make sense?
Back to my trying times.. I’ve prayed hard for the first time in a long time these past few days. My mommy has prayed over the phone with me. I’ve cracked open my Bible and highlighted a few things, something I haven’t done in so long, I can’t even remember the last time it happened. So, tests test our will and our faith (I think), but these times (in my opinion) remind us where we’re supposed to be. If certain events hadn’t transpired, I wouldn’t have realized just how far I had gone from my spiritual roots. I wouldn’t have begun the journey of going back to them. I asked for a last chance angle (Saving Grace reference), and it looks like I got it. The journey won’t be easy; it will involve a serious re-prioritizing and evaluation of my own selfishness. But He knows how to pace it, and He’ll guide me. He knows when we’re ready, when we’ll be open to it. And if we’re not, maybe He’ll let us royally mess up, the “I told you so” of the spiritual world. Don’t rush it, don’t force it. Just remember it as a possibility, and He’ll do the rest. Everything happens in His own good time; let it, be at peace with it.
That’s why I ask, where will you be? How will He do it? What will He inspire you to do? For me, it was in the shower, mouthing praise songs from Sister Act and Sister Act 2 (didn’t wanna wake anyone up), while I prayed that He’d use my voice to exalt him. In that moment, I meant my singing voice. As I write this, as I felt almost immediately compelled to do after my shower, I realize that the voice He uses could be my written voice, my words. And what better vehicle? Writing is my passion, what I could spend my whole life doing. Praising Him and living the dream? I’m in.