The Slopes of Faith & Finding Consistency

I didn’t understand or become personally aware of what a so-called “spiritual high” was until this year. It is often referred to as a short term period in someone’s life when they are all-in and passionate about their relationship with the Lord. Unfortunately, the idea of “spiritual highs” is also tied with negative attributes as many witness the lack of continuation in these spiritual yearnings over a longer time-span. It’s hard to say, but the negative portrayal received in its explanation made me think of this as a fake lifestyle and that I would never be trapped into this type of inconsistent mindset.

And then I started thinking about it a little bit more…

It’s hard to put a working definition on what “spiritual highness” really is and how it is viewed in a person’s character. Are we “spiritually high” during the months of improvement in our lives or only as a result of a life-changing, insightful event? Either way, God made it clear to me that my relationship with Him will never be the same all the time. Whether in a state of improvement, hardship or joy in life, I will always be experiencing different aspects that come with the unique bond I share with Christ.

For me, the extreme ups and downs crept into my life this year, creating the mountainous joys I shared in my Christian faith along with the deep valleys of absence and wandering.

Following an overall inspiring, adventurous and life-enriching summer last year, I soared into school with a bright and excited attitude, ready to see God’s redeeming grace shine into the world around me. The leftover zeal of an eye-opening break took hold of my heart and helped me maintain consistency in diving into The Word, having meaningful conversations with the Lord and sharing my exuberance with others around me! It seemed like a high moment in my life, and despite the big decisions looming before me, I was far from worried and beyond excited for the future.

Well, the late night studies, hour-long prayer sessions and extensive joy in my life didn’t last.

The eagerness to pull out my Bible, read several pages and then follow up with notes, an application and prayer did not continue each morning and night. Self consciousness, pride and jealousy reappeared, affecting the way I viewed fellowship with others and how I was serving in the church.

I began to focus less on God, placing him lower on my priority list so that I could face the “big” problems and decisions I was supposed to work through as a high school senior.

Distraction is a funny thing, because in the moment, you don’t realize you are in the process of separation. However, each night that I jumped into bed exhausted from the day’s activities, and contemplated whether or not to really put my time and effort into a meaningful application from a devotional book, I stood on the edge of a teetering relationship with the Lord.

When I said “No, I’m too tired – it can wait for tomorrow,”  or read the scripture just to check it off my ‘Things To Do To Feel Good About Myself’ list, I missed out on God’s input into my life. Whatever problems, stresses or doubts I was consumed with at the time could have been brought to the Lord and at least drawn into a different light. Instead, I loosened my grip, and allowed resentment, pride and selfishness to rule my mindset at home, school and while surrounded by other Christians.

Sure, there were days when I did sit down and have a little heart-to-heart with God, but there were also days when I clung to the more materialistically promising and fulfilling temptations of the world. These exhausting, uphill steeps and free-falling slopes are what I now see as the result of what could have been a “spiritual high” and my failure in keeping up with God in a genuine way.

Reflecting on the past year, I see both moments of difficulty and joy in my relationship with the Lord. But what I am able to tie between the two is overall development and an experience that features the need for authenticity and commitment in order to thrive in the faith. Just like the simple algebra equations I enjoyed before calculus took over math class, to truly gain and flourish as a Christian, I need to commit more wholeheartedly.

I came to realize that we get what we put in.

In other words, God is able to work in our lives with a greater influence the more we open ourselves to his instruction and wisdom through time, commitment and daily offering of ourselves to Him.
God loves each and every one of us so dearly the He gave us a will to use for our basis of decision making. It is in that freedom of choice that I need to continue to uphold my priorities as a seeker of Christ.

So where is the flatland – the consistency in my relationship with God?

To be honest, I don’t really believe there is steadiness or “flatland”. This is because our faith will always be tested and pushed to produce the best product inside of us, making each day and period in life different. What I do know is that faith in Christ is a lasting relationship that is full of new beginnings and will never run dry.
From adhering through tough circumstances to soaring through each day with an abundance of joy, God is ever present and waiting for us to follow Him through this adventure of abandonment to ourselves and devotion to Him.

In resulting thoughts, I hope to daily want to pursue my walk with the Lord, gain wisdom, live the calling of a Christ follower and reap the immeasurable provisions He gives in response to these offerings.

 

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

 

Philippians 1:27

Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.

 

I learned a lot myself simply by sitting down, thinking and putting into words this post – I hope you took something from it too!

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

Rachel Beckman

 

 

 

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