I know that is really obvious, but it is well worth stating again. It’s really important that we carve out time to be formed into Jesus’ likeness – we are all created in God’s image, but we need shaping into His likeness – and that takes time. Time to chip away our sharp edges. Prune away the dead branches. Be moulded like clay in the Potter’s hands. Pick your metaphor, but they all show something important: we are not yet who we are meant to be and God wants to make us the very best version of us. Our spiritual journey is that formation. So spirituality is REALLY important.
But the problem is, it strikes me, that people have spirituality wrong. Me included.
We think of spirituality as something internal that happens to our soul or heart. It happens not in the physical, real, world. It is something mystical and separate from our every day lives. Spirituality is this thing we do.
And it separates our every day life from God. God is confined to specific loci.
We designate time to be spiritual. Quiet times. Fasting. Silence. Times of worship. Church. Putting a CD on and listening to it. Prayer times. Whatever it is. These are all amazing things, keep doing them. But it seems to separate our spirituality from our physical, normal life.
Which is really dangerous.
It means that, as long as we’re still spiritual, our physical self can do what it wants without the two affecting one another. It means that I can do whatever I want on saturday night, as long as I go and be spiritual on a sunday morning.
But the truth is that we are complete beings. We aren’t spiritual at one time and not at another. We’re always spiritual. Just there are focused times that we separate out to focus on nothing else but God. What I do when I’m not praying affects what I do when I am praying. My inner life is affected by my outer life. We are interconnected beings, so of course this makes sense.
You’ve probably experienced the reverse. You’ve spent some time with God and it has affected how you then live…you’ve been a bit kinder, or haven’t wanted to be mean or have been more patient or whatever.
There was a monk called Brother Lawrence who, lived in the 1600s. He wrote a series of letters which have been collated into a book called The Practice of the Presence of God. He suggests that in everything we do, we can bring God to mind; each and every task is worship when we have God at the forefront of our minds. He seemed to know that we cannot separate the mundane from the sacred; that everything is sacred because God is there.
Spirituality is vital; time being formed into Jesus likeness is VITAL and life giving. But separating Sunday morning from Saturday night, divorcing our prayer life from our college/school/uni/work/every day life tears us apart.
God wants the whole of your life. Every part. And because everything is spiritual He is in it all already.
So, what is spirituality? It’s everything, the whole of life. Even the washing up.