Trudging Through a Path of Jello: Get Real About the Spiritual Journey

No one is an expert in another’s journey.

It sounds so common sense but with each new day, I find the journey of my life through and now, seemingly beyond, the valley of suck, to be a journey of whole new discoveries. Everything and I do mean EVERYTHING, has been up for grabs as it were. The changes to me and to my family have left us scarred but stronger.

While having lunch with a good buddy this week, who has shared this whole journey with me, he said it was like “walking on jello.” You put your foot down and yes, you’re on “something” but it is squishy, fluid, shifting, it even gives for a time, you can sink all the way down and then come right back up. I’m not going to take the analogy any further so we’ll just be clear...the journey is a mess.

And here is the thing at the heart - you can’t write curriculum for this mess. You cannot preach a sermon series to sum the mess up. You cannot go to your community group study and get the answers. As a pastor, I’m pulling the curtain away and pointing out the true state of “Oz,” there isn’t anything there.

Do not get me wrong, we NEED pastors and priests! There is a need for shepherds in our lives BUT they do not belong at the controls of your life or my life. They have not lived your life nor mine. Just because a pastor leads a large congregation it is no guarantee these men and women are even spiritually healthy or worthy of following.

Is this a statement on the large, mega-church paradigm? No...ok, maybe a little, but what is at the heart of our life journey (which IS a spiritual journey), is the reality that it is OUR’S and it belongs to no one else. Growing dependent on the men and women of “the cloth” for your spiritual health and well-being is a dangerous thing. Trusting solely in the creators of good curriculum or lesson plans is dangerous. Even being completely committed to living according to the Bible is something we need to be cautioned on.

What is needed is for us to put our faith and trust in God. In his “First Epistle,” the early church father, Cyprian, wrote,

“Walk with a firm step. By that I mean, firmly resolve that you will depend on God with all your heart and strength… The first step in this way of the Spirit: Come before God each day, always with holy reverence. Like an innocent child, trust Him. This attitude will protect your soul. It will keep you from becoming like some, who are so sure they are ‘saved’ that they become careless. Begin today to walk in the way of innocence, which is the way of right living before God and [people].”

We need no arbitrator between us and God but Jesus Christ, Immanuel, “God with us.” And yet we do need shepherds. Shepherds lead but do not grow the grass of sheep. They know their jobs and their limitations.

I have not found any single expert or author to truly help me. I have sought God and the counsel of “shepherds,” namely, faithful friends and my spiritual director. The path through this “jello” is not so clear. You are going to be a mess when it is done and you may well find, like I have, the person you are becoming is a better, more authentic human being who began the journey.  

Check out Ken's book:
Life Sucks Seek God: 5 soul-healing habits to connect you with God when life seems out of control.

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