Over Easter weekend I found myself reading a lot of beautifully written Christian blogs, reflecting on different aspects of Good Friday and Easter. One or two of them were meaningful and inspiring posts reflecting deeply on profound passages of scripture, but were so beautifully written that I came away feeling more discouraged than encouraged by them. I could never achieve that level of closeness to God, or depth of spirituality.
I know I’m not being fair on these writers. I have no doubts about the sincerity of their faith. They probably just don’t write about the less spiritual parts of their lives.
I wrote last year about trying to find a deeper faith. But reality falls far short of that goal.
I awake in the morning with the best of intentions, and on Good Days I even fit in a prayer time between my shower and breakfast. (The Not-So-Good Days seem to be the majority.) I go through each day mostly just thinking about the task in front of me – family, work, household chores. I get to the end of the day, bundle the children into bed and crash onto the sofa with my laptop and relax by surfing online until the screen starts to get hazy. If I’m not too tired, and it’s a Good Day I might even write a bit in my journal before turning out the light. On the whole, I don’t feel very spiritual most of the time.
As I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve realised I need to stop comparing my faith with others.
20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. … 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:20-22, New International Version, ©2011)
All I can be responsible for is me, and my own response to God. I can only write about the journey as I find it.
The reality is this: on the Good Days when I do make the time to pray, it is worth the effort. I’m not saying anything miraculous happens. I don’t “sense the presence of God” in any way, or “hear His voice” or even “receive a revelation from scripture”. But it makes a difference to me that I’ve stilled myself down to reflect and listen.
I’ve been looking back to where I was at a few days after the earthquake, the prayer I prayed then was:
The wounded and broken feelings are healing, but I still feel like I have nothing to offer. I offer who I am, and it doesn’t seem very much. It’s like I’ve only got two copper coins, compared to the many rich gifts of others.
But I am here. And this is my offering.