FREQUENTLY I am asked questions like, how do I get closer to God, pray better, know I’m praying enough, know I’m saved. These all sound like different questions. But there is a commonality of answer:
“It is foolish to think that we will enter heaven without entering into ourselves.”
― Teresa of Ávila (1515 – 1582)
Let’s keep ‘heaven’ within the present discussion in the frame of the here-and-now. The Teresa quote certainly applies to one’s journey through revelation to repentance to redemption of the ‘me’ according to the plans and purposes of God — to the ends of the overall destination — being saved for heaven.
But let’s spend some time musing about something more proximal:
the heaven that is God’s Presence, now.
Here’s a proposition to work with:
To the extent that we reach into ourselves we allow God to reach into us. We know God the best we can when we allow Him to make us known to ourselves. We can only be intimate with God if we’re intimate with ourselves.
Sounds easy on the surface of it. But it’s a tumultuous journey to enter and embark upon. Mainly because it’s dry and unstimulating at times. At other times it’s humiliating; our pride hates identification; honesty’s a price to be paid. And there are certainly times when the upward climb is so taxing we’re sorely tempted to give up. The spiritual journey inward to the heart of God is an arduous pilgrimage.
We never experience all the love God has for us until we face all the truth He knows we’re yet unaware of. God loves us with the truth. At a pace we can cope with.
It’s a journey of the Spirit by prayer, which is communion in Him, which is connection.
The spiritual journey is one of being drawn on the one hand; of surrender on the other.
We’re drawn because our hearts want to be drawn. God has won us. There is no longer any conscious resistance, but that doesn’t mean there is surrender. There is still possibly unconscious resistance, or we may be conscious of resistance to surrender that’s within us but we don’t know why.
It’s frustrating when we crave closeness with God and He seems still so far away.
One way of overcoming this is to simply enter into ourselves; to gather insight through reflecting over our experience. To tap into our psyche, into what drives us, our sin, our desires that become demands and then move into the realm of idol worship.
Trust God. He will enter the cauldron of that contemplative space!
As God begins to speak to us at a soul level we get information about where we’re at on the journey. The destination is irrelevant. Willingness to be is key.
The less we try, the more we trust, the better our intimacy with God’s Presence.
Reaching into God occurs as God reaches into us. As we attain communion, He searches us, we see His truth about us, we experience His grace, and in His love, we grow.
And we begin to discover answers to the sorts of questions we have for God.