All in all, 2013 has been a real mix of a year in spiritual terms. I think it has probably been the most significant spiritual years I’ve had. There have been several new discoveries, commitments and landmarks on the way alongside some very difficult deeper work, mainly around issues like rejection and the clinical depression that has been dogging me and keeping me low for some time…years in fact. Thankfully, I have a clearer mind now than I’ve had for a while…which explains a lot, in retrospect! Ha!
It has also been a year of vocational and theological exploration. I’ve taken on some new writers on topics I wouldn’t normally have read by writers I wouldn’t normally pick up and I’ve sought to find ways to settle the sense of ‘unsettled’ vocational identity and I’m getting somewhere with that. I’ve been living with the call to availability and vulnerability, both to God and to others, as I’ve lived with the Rule of the Northumbria Community. I’m also looking at making a reaffirmation of my ‘ordination’ promises through an act of consecration in the new year…more to follow on that one. Identifying with Jesus and the wider church in baptism by immersion in the Almond was a significant new landmark which was followed by a strong sense of calling I’m still working out.
I’ve taken to visiting a spiritual director, which has been humbling. The poor guy must wonder what has hit him when I arrive with my varied contradictions and confusions. But it has been excellent to have someone ‘independent’ to talk to about spiritual stuff. Quite great. I’ve also been seeing a counsellor to talk through lots of baggage and have a good old clear our all round.
The overwhelming result of this bloomin’ hard work is, I suppose, a sense of reemergence and a new sense of adventure at the same time. I find that I am totally over the cult of busy, recognising that I can only realistically function when I am living a life in balance. I’ve found a love and desire for silence and stillness as a key antidote to a workaholic ministry that was dragging me into the ground. When the world seems to be saying I’m useless and short of the mark, I can say, honestly, that I am enough, that I live as wholeheartedly as I can, and that people genuinely appreciate the ministry I am able to offer in spite of my limitations.
More than all that, I find a great liberty and freedom to respond to the call of God in the day to day things. I also enjoy the freedom to doubt and question, to entertain mystery as I go through this faith journey, which is serving as a great teacher. It is for freedom that Christ set us free, but I find my biggest task is dealing with my home-made chains. Its the battle we’re in!
I approach 2014 not with a revelation of the complete path ahead, but enough to be confident to take the first steps into a new year in the footsteps of Jesus the Nazarene.