Recently, a friend asked me how my soul was doing these days.
She wasn’t asking about my salvation, of course. She was asking how I was doing, but asking it in such a way that it didn’t mean the generic “How are you?” It was like asking, “How are you really?”
“Meh,” with a shrug.
That was my answer.
It was as honest as I could be.
The truth is, I’ve been tired and cranky and hormonal and anxious and overwhelmed and aimless. Each of those things, at some point and time, on most days. (Yeah, yeah, there is some beauty and grace every day, too, but there are plenty of other letters you can read if you want that message. Not today. Today is the message of “meh.”)
But I was thinking about her question the next day as we drove out to the local farm to pick up our weekly CSA produce. I don’t know why it came to mind, but it did, and I realized I felt a little bit guilty about not really having a good answer about my soul doing Great! Awesome! Spectacular!
And then I started thinking about why I felt guilty or embarrassed or whatever it was.
As a Christian, and especially one raised in the evangelical church, I certainly have an ingrained sense of my “spiritual life” and what that should look like. I’ve honestly often wished I had more of a spiritual life, as in more spiritual and identifiable practices and disciplines I could point to as proving a solid spiritual life.
As if it were a separate thing from the rest of my life.
Now, don’t get me wrong or misread what I’m saying here. Of course, I do think spiritual disciplines are enriching and important. I see our family’s integration of the liturgical calendar as a communal spiritual discipline and practice to live intentionally.
But I do think we get a little confused if we think of those spiritual practices as our spiritual life, you know, as something separate from our nonspiritual life.
Are we having an unspiritual day if we don’t start off with reading our Bibles and prayer?
I think not, girls. And what if I forgot to look for God in the mundane today, does that mean God wasn’t in the mundane? Nope.
I just don’t buy it. When I see metaphor in a poem I read, or a movie I watch, or a question you ask me, that is a signpost of grace to me. A reminder of what is always true.
God is present to this moment. Eternally.
I knew someone who used to ask people what God had been teaching them lately. My mind always scrambled when I knew the question was going to be tossed my direction soon. Because I always felt the whole deer-in-the-headlights feeling of OH CRAP, GOD ISN’T TEACHING ME ANYTHING RIGHT NOW.
(For the record, I pretty much never use the word “crap” out loud.)
But guess what? I don’t actually think that’s true.
It is impossible that God isn’t teaching me anything right now.
Because God is always present to me, girls.
God is always present to you, too. I conclude your nighttime prayer with this every single night: And may you know that you are never alone because God is always with you and God will always love you.
I absolutely believe God is present, even when I’m feeling aimless and anxious and tired and grumpy. “Meh” about sums it up.
But I don’t feel alone. I believe God is right here in this anxiety and exhaustion and grump with me.
In fact, during one bout of insomnia recently, during the wee hours of the morning, I thought to myself, while tossing and turning, “This is when God gives visions.” I don’t know where that thought came from, but I remembered Jacob wrestling with God in the night, and the time when Jacob saw the angels coming up and down the ladder. In the night.
And then right there in my own nighttime anxiety, somehow, I fell back asleep, not necessarily confident that God’s visions are for such a time as this, but aware that they might be.