IS THERE A BOTTOM LINE IN MY SPIRITUAL LIFE
The simple answer is that of course there is! However, in our financial life the numbers are relatively easy and straight forward, the difficulty lies in making them realistic and then getting there. In the life of the spirit formulating the goal for God seekers may be helped with the right book, but the route for getting there can be intricate and mysterious. God’s map although completely gratuitous adjust to our decisions. However, when we beseech with trust for help to do what God wants of us, God has promised his/hers support in the path we choose.
Each of us humans has a unique goal and a unique set of pathways leading to our spiritual bottom line, because we are composed of a spirit that is the pinnacle of a unique integration of gradually developing, living, and finally slowly expiring material components, all making up our uniqueness and at the same time originating external and internal constraints capable of compromising our resolve. All of us face a limited decision-making matrix for the spiritually important steps in our life. Most of us are small fish in a very large pond, and some may feel tossed about like a lifeboat on a stormy ocean while others pass them by in a cruise ship still our uniqueness somehow makes us a “special” beloved object of our creator. Throughout our spiritual journey this relationship with God, smooth or tumultuous, becomes the fabric of our spiritual lives.
It is a lifelong task to figure out, first who we really are and second who we want to be. A good many of our spiritual obstacles arise from trying to discern which of these two drives us more. Then the dalliances continually beckoning along the road slow us down and frequently imperil our staying the course. More complications come to light as we come to unexpected forks in the road which may test our resolve to enter a different and unknown passage. And gradually in this tortuous trip we come to the realization that we depend entirely on GOD, THE UNKNOWN AND HIDDEN OTHER. And while God does normally does not clearly manifest preferences, our unswerving trust in God’s love will always make up for our missteps. It is our side in a loving relationship that can guide us through unknown territories toward the always illusive bottom line or final goal for our life in the spirit.
Self-knowledge is basic for the proper decision-making and finding the God we seek. Continuously changing major material components, our time and place in history, culture, family, perhaps a casual encounter with someone who turns out to be special, religious influences, our current chemistry, our DNA which has been leading up to the formation of our unique genes over thousands of years, constitute only a few of the myriad material or material related factors contribute to shape who we are. They are indicators of how our spirit knowingly and unknowingly reacts or should react and respond in spiritual growth over the years to our personal ever changing material world. In this process we can sooner or later become acquainted with the boundaries that contour our unique job description of who we are at a given moment and who we are called to be. This is basic info for learning how to relate to THE UNKNOWN OTHER without whose help our spirit cannot lead us into and along our unique paths.
Where does the will of God enter into this process? Although spiritual literature frequently exhorts us to seek God’s will, it is really OUR FREE CALL which has already been limited by the boundaries set by the created material factors just mentioned and of course previous choices. God adapts himself to our free choices in love. One can imagine the anguish that Jesus might have suffered because he was free to hope for and perhaps weigh in a process of discernment another path to promote his Fathers’ Kingdom that did not mean dying so young and seemingly aborting his mission. He had received so much he must have wanted to teach his followers about his Father. Similarly St. Paul was free to get up from the sand where his spiritual mount threw him and see many other ways to serve the Christ that changed his life, but he chose to be a missionary to the gentiles. He embraced a new bottom line or spiritual goal which choice turned out to change the direction of Christianity in the world.
What then should be my goal or the bottom line of MY spiritual life? In freedom limited though it may be we are drawn by our imperfect, incomplete and always unique complex baggage of spirit and matter to find intimacy in love with God our Creator. This becoming a unique ONE with him/her, based on an absolute trust in the creative love of God, THE UNKNOWN AND MYSTERIOUS OTHER, escapes visualization and understanding, but in its most mature state has been described by some as something of a preview of the life to come.