Our Lady of Junction
So There I was… Halfway across the state of Texas working on a spiritual discipline. I am mildly allergic to the entire concept of discipline. It smacks of work. It stinks of tedium. These things do not call to me.
But I do desire to be a deeply spiritual person. Not the kind of pop-faith consumer who has a new guru or path with every season. I am ready to settle down: to choose one path and stick to it, and spend the second half of my life mastering it. To do this I am afraid that I must practice a spiritual discipline or two. The purpose of practicing any spiritual discipline is twofold: to aerobically exercise the soul and to increase awareness of The Divine. The traditional practices of prayer, fasting, simplicity, and so on, have great merit, and I occasionally work at them.
I have found a new discipline that suits me, and stretches me in ways I never thought possible. It is the discipline of Spiritual Adventure. The Discipline of Spiritual Adventure is not just simple thrill seeking, but the intentional choosing of the less certain way in order to allow the Divine maximum room to move.
When we are outside of our comfort zone, when we are on an unknown path, our senses are heightened, including our spiritual senses that so often lay dormant as we proceed through life on autopilot. We pay more attention to detail. We are aware of, and communicate our thoughts and desires, more diligently to our Designer. We listen better. Choice is an essential piece of Spiritual Adventure. We must acknowledge, embrace, and take responsibility for the freedom we are given as eternal children of a Divine Creator. An adventure that is not freely chosen is a detour at best, and sometimes a nightmare.
Many of us use our freedom to so fill our lives with busyness, structure and control that there is no room for adventure. We do this almost with out thinking, unconsciously barricading our life against the unknown. But I tell you, it is still choice; it is intentional, and intention counts. It is not a spiritual adventure if you are treading a well-worn path. Fresh road is required. Navigating not by memory, but by a combination of reason and trust.
To practice this discipline you must become aware of crossroads when you come to them. Often they are not marked or obvious. Daily we make decisions that will change our entire future; often it is only in hindsight that we see it. The discipline of Spiritual Adventure says that we can develop foresight and a present awareness that allows us to be fully conscious participants in our choices. And beyond that it tells us that the universe is trustworthy and that we can renounce fear, and trust our Creator and our own spiritual senses to keep us away from real disaster when we choose uncertain paths. A crossroads is a pivotal place where fear wrestles with obedience. It is one of the best places I know of to develop discernment, or wisdom listening. But we do not seek this discipline purposeless, we seek it with the desire, the craving, to see with our own eyes the movement, influence, and evidence of the Divine.
We can only see this when we get our plans, agendas and ourselves out of the way. There are no preplanned spaces in my calendar for miracles. Spiritual adventure can be fun, but often it isn’t. It is always stretching. Even a genuine miracle can be scary at the time -- just ask Jonah. It doesn’t always feel safe, but practiced properly it is safe. In fact, it is much safer than living a spiritually unaware, unawake life.
risk taking is betting on your luck, or your skill; and like any bet
the odds can be good, or the shot can be a long one. Spiritual Adventure
presumes that there is another player, and that the other has your true
best interests as its goal and guiding principle. This is an essential
truth: yes, the house always wins, but you and the house have intimate