September 8, 2021

Exploring the ordinary; encountering the divine

Exploring the ordinary; encountering the divine

I remember taking a career aptitude test as a senior, sitting in the little modular building that held the guidance office of my Christian high school. One of the results I got as a possible profession was pastor. I remember thinking, pastor? That’s not an option for me. Men are pastors. But even in a broader sense of the word, I remember thinking, me? A spiritual leader? I have so much growing to do. I haven’t arrived.

•••

One summer during college I went on an evangelistic mission trip to a college campus in Rome. One way we tried to engage Italian students in conversation was with a deck of larger-sized cards with random photographs on them (anyone out there remember Soularium?). I would choose 3 cards and explain what they meant to me; the goal was to weave God’s plan of salvation into that explanation. One of the cards I always chose was an image of a young woman with cute shoes walking up a flight of stairs. I remember saying, “This represents the spiritual journey for me. A constant climb, a continual striving.” I said that as if it was a good thing, but I see now that underneath I held a hidden despair, an exhaustion because the whole thing just felt relentless. Surely, spiritual maturity and God’s approval were just around the corner. Life was constant self-evaluation and a never-enoughness. So, so tiring. To be honest, I still struggle with this type of thinking, although I know that self-optimization is not the same thing as self-care, and that the goal is wholeness, not perfection.

•••

I used to journal nearly every day in college, sometimes a mundane recounting of daily events, sometimes juicy gossip, lament, stories of love and loss. I so desperately wanted to be a “prayer warrior.” I had a specific vision of what that looked like–on my knees, with a list of requests, quietly talking to God in my head in the morning. Looking back, I now see that journaling was (and is) my intuitive prayer practice. A daily laying bare of my soul, innermost thoughts and truest feelings. I mourn the years of self-judgment and not being able to recognize my gifts.

•••

Last year I attended a conference that offered daily meditation sessions as a part of the programming. One of the meditation leaders described themself as a “channel of the divine.” I immediately thought to myself, How dare they? Who gave them the authority? And the real questions hiding under those ones: How can I do that? How do I get to a place where I get to spend my time guiding others to an experience beyond themselves, to connection with God?

Deep inside of me lives a desire to connect with God, to transcend my humanness and anchor myself into something deeper. Throughout my deconstruction process I never lost faith in God even as the entire framework I had built around God crumbled. Alongside that is a desire to help others connect to that place as well. I want to contribute something life-giving and beautiful to the world. And I don’t have to be perfect to do that. I don’t have to have arrived. I don’t have to have the right degree. The truth is that I have hard earned life experience and my own intuition to undergird my work here, and for the first time, that feels like enough.

This new website is an attempt to take a step in that direction. I’d love it if you’d consider supporting me in this new endeavor and joining my community. Find out what that looks like here.