Jesus calls. We think we see the light. But we don’t recognize the light for what it is. At first Jesus holds us by the hand. Then he lets go, with expectations. We are to walk his way, think his way, embrace the way. Only in the process of our inner reformation all our hopes become conflicted and we are left again with stark choices to follow or not to follow, choices that appear every day and just about every moment. As we embrace these choices we hear the Spirit and begin to find fluidity in our walk.
One way of embracing these choices is to leap fully into the river of the Spirit, deciding to make life most fully dependent on the Spirit’s salvation. This way offers many less choices, but it also flirts more with despair, as the Spirit doesn’t move any quicker or open more doors except the ones that were always meant to open. And in choosing this path, it is like we give the Spirit permission to shut every other door, asking for God’s guidance. It is the cloud at night and the pillar of fire during the day. We stop when it stops. We go when it goes. We don’t, and increasingly can’t, wander off to other distractions.
This is the monastic path, and whether permanent or temporary, it forces the person to look upwards and find the Life in the midst of the darkness, learning perseverance and patience and thanksgiving. This is the direction God threw me into years ago. I was “saved” in a way from making wrong choices on women to ask out, or responsibilities to take up, or offers to embrace because I learn I need to put myself into a situation of silence and waiting and wilderness.
My life has clarity when I do this. I wait for the Spirit, and while I do occasionally have curious opportunities I can pursue, the weight of the Spirit has continued to work to help understand the profound differences between the Spirit’s “no!” and the Spirit’s “Yes!”. I try not to flirt with the former any more, even as I continue to make choices that reflect this, because there is such a stark difference between peace and not peace.
I am a buoy floating on the ocean. When I become untethered to my source, and I endure the full force of the tempest. When I step away from the Spirit and I feel the knives. I feel the torture. I feel the utter and devastating pain. I feel every slice, every cut, every tearing and searing and breaking. So I avoid that which says “No!” because it may not change my state of life and death but it absolutely changes my sense of peace or no peace.
With the Spirit I watch, and observe, and even analyze, taking notes on their methods for future reference. The goal is to walk smoothly through this life no matter what happens, or doesn’t happen, good or bad. To walk with hope and fullness of joy with each step, resonating these so that others are renewed.
I’m not there yet. But I’m learning. Every day in both the ups and the downs.