The phrase “spiritual mediocrity” sums up a good portion of the last year of my life. I can blame it on so many, many things. Not that they’re excuses. But what I’m coming to see is the danger, in the Christian life, of letting life get you so tied in knots that you don’t have anything left to devote to walking with God. Life is just busy. There are auto license renewals, medical bills, grad school applications, work schedules. There are hurting friends to care for and menus to plan and execute and cars to fill with gas and then you fall into bed, dog-tired and heavy-hearted at the friends you DIDN’T care for and the menus you DIDN’T plan.
The challenge is to avoid responding to the good, old-fashioned Ecclesiastes toil with spiritual mediocrity, a phrase a good friend of mine used the other day in conversation. The temptation in the face of all this business to take care of–this business we MUST do if we don’t want collection agencies knocking or husbands going hungry or buying expensive lunches… The temptation, I am realizing, is to let our hearts get the short end of the stick. Our spiritual life suffers and we find ourselves with no willingness to give to yet another thing: our God. So we jokingly toss around lines like “Don’t ask God for patience unless you’re a doctor.” (Haha!) But shouldn’t we want the opportunity to grow in faithfulness, in our ability to honor God?
So today I am pondering living dangerously and asking God for something I know He’ll give me–patience or contentment for example–and risking the reality that I’m inviting him to bring to my life yet more demands: spiritual demands and the call for sacrifice in yet another arena. Notice I say I am “pondering” it, not that I am actually doing it. True mediocrity at work, but unfortunately I think it’s a step in the right direction for me.