Sometimes I can get snug and comfortable in my Christianese bubble and forget that all things spiritual may not resonate or be well received with every single person I come in contact with. Which is always shocking to me, because, the love, joy, peace and adventure that I get to experience on a daily often takes my breath away, and I have a hard time understanding why someone would be completely shut off to its possibilities.
Yes, we're all aware of how quickly people might get offended, even with the best of intentions and a solid heart behind our actions.
And today, I was reminded of the turbulent territory of spirituality and how it can effect our encounters with people.
I'm convinced that people to react to spirituality in 1 of 4 ways.
1. With Joy - Treating it as if it were an adventure and a fun new relationship to explore.
2. With Confusion - Because, if you can't see it, then it can't be real.
3. With Anger - Because religion has been known to cause horrific wars throughout the world and countless injustices throughout the centuries.
4. With Fear - Like watching a weird horror movie at night, it just gives you the heebee geebies.
But I'm most fascinated with #4 today.
It's true that we often fear the unknown or what we have yet to fully understand.
So I was talking to a friend (#1) today, who told our other friend (#2) that I had been praying for them. Friend #2 has known me for years and knows that I'm a church girl that loves Jesus. And that I pray. And not just to bless my food. But you know, praaaaaaaaay.
But when Friend #1 told Friend #2 that I was praying for them, their first reaction was, "Oooo, that sounds a little scary." And then proceeded to shudder.
Which then made me think, what exactly does Friend #2 think I do when I pray for them. Some seance of sorts in the forest in a white robe?
Wait. Let me pause.
In case you're reading this, and you've never prayed or had someone pray for you, let me just say this. Prayer at its most basic, is talking to God, sharing our hearts, our hopes, our areas of need. It involves speaking and listening. It may seem super, super awkward at first, but the more you exercise that spiritual muscle, the more and more natural it becomes.
Okay, so back to Friend #2. I was surprised at their reaction. But not shocked. What Friend #2 was beginning to experience, is what I like to call "The Tug". When God is so tenderly, so sovereignly, calling out to you and calling you higher. Calling you to look beyond the things you can see, beyond the temporal, to something greater. Because deep in your heart, you know that this isn't all there is.
It's almost shocking, a bit disorienting, and often offensive to your brain. Because all you've ever known is being challenged -- it's all being rocked.
I, myself have seen some crazy beautiful things happen as a result of prayer. And if I told you half of my stories, you'd probably never believe me.
And that's okay.
But just as a heads up, the truth is often shocking, and almost always stranger than fiction.
“Let us never forget to pray. God lives. He is near. He is real. He is not only aware of us but cares for us. He is our Father. He is accessible to all who will seek Him.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley