Confessions of Former "Live for the Next Spiritual High" Type Christian
When I was a youth minister, one of my favorite things was to take and lead teens on meaningful retreat experiences. We would go away for a weekend in nature with time for fun team building games, lots of snacks, and opportunities to encounter and connect with Jesus.
One of the things we always discussed before going back home was how to navigate and return from the spiritual high of a meaningful connection with God. I would almost always use this example of today’s Gospel of the Transfiguration to rely on the importance of how we cannot stay high in the clouds with God, but have to return back down to our normal lives and implement what we have learned or heard from God.
However, the funny thing was that deep inside I was a grown-up version of a Christian who was deeply living for the next spiritual high in her relationship with God.
I treated the liturgical seasons of Advent and Lent as the next opportunity to implement my latest spiritual improvement plan. Inwardly, I lived for the next young adult conference or retreat so I could “feel and hear '' God instead of realizing the Divine presence was waiting to be loved and discovered in my normal everyday life. I highly valued “doing'' over simply “being” with God in the spiritual life.
In many ways, I was much like Peter in today’s Gospel account. I thought it was better to live constantly in the warm, cozy feelings of a spiritual high.
Do you relate to this at all? Has this ever been you in your walk with God?
One of the dangers of getting stuck in a Transfiguration moment like Peter, James, and John, is that we think God can only be found or experienced in a spiritual high. Where prayer is deep and connection with God is effortless; where we have the warm, snuggly feelings of spiritual closeness to Jesus. Yes, it is human and normal to have moments of those experiences.
However, it is not sustainable. And may I boldly say, that is not where Jesus desires we live every moment of our lives.
A more holistic approach is what Jesus asked of his disciples; and He asks the same thing of us too.
We take those moments of spiritual consolation and closeness and carry them close in our heart. We allow them to propel us into being men and women of action, in the name of the Gospel we bear and believe.
Our “beingness” with Jesus allows us to be His hands, feet, heart, and mind in a broken and wounded world.
If we are not able or are unwilling to leave the mountaintop, who will bring the loving presence of Jesus into daily life? If not you, if not me, then who?
Today is the second Sunday of Lent. May we use this story of the disciples and take a spiritual accounting of our walk with God.
Are there spaces where it is easier for me to live for the next spiritual high instead of asking God how He wants to use me to bring His presence into the world around me?
Ask Jesus. See what He has to say to you.
Let’s stop living for the next spiritual high. Instead, let’s commit to bringing the Kingdom of God to our spheres of influence and daily lives.