Spirituality for Difficult Times Part 5 of 5

The Practice of the Presence of God

By Harriet, Editor At Large

One of the problems that comes with experiencing a walk with God is a tendency for people to develop an overblown ego. God has especially called them to be in this great relationship and they have responded, working diligently to walk daily in God’s presence. It is easy to begin to feel “special” and to want others to experience it too. But too often it comes across as self aggrandising and as if you consider yourself more special than others who either weren’t called, who chose not to hear the call, or who chose not to respond to what they should respond to. People who have a strong experience of God in their lives can become a real pain to others. Over-inflated egos are never nice to have to deal with, regardless of whether they are in leadership positions or they are your peers, but wannabe leaders or just because they have “got it” and you obviously haven’t.

Walking in the presence of God is great. But it doesn’t make you more special in God’s eyes than anyone else. The experience of being “at one” is sufficient reward. God doesn’t have a hierarchy of specialness. God calls us all. If you feel “at one”, then be thankful. If others are struggling while you have the “at one” experience, then by all means walk with them if they want you to. But you aren’t better or greater than they are.

In the words of one eastern tradition: Before enlightenment, draw water, chop wood. After enlightenment, draw water, chop wood. In one sense everything changes; In another, nothing changes.

In the Christian tradition the experience of God makes us servants, not lords. Any power we gain is to be there to serve, to become personally whole, so we can serve well.

Sometimes the best service we can give to our community is to use the power we have to avoid becoming a burden on limited resources. We are called to be as whole as we can be and as self-sufficient as we can be. Don’t confuse the sense of call to wholeness with the call to be a leader in the church. Both are possible, however the former is for all of us, the latter for a very few. In some ways focussing our call outwards to be of physical service to others can be a denial of our personal call, our need to become the whole person God is calling us to be. Being out in the world serving is all very wel,l but as our personal resources are limited we can often serve better by expressing the peace of God that passes all understanding and being as healthy and whole as we can both physically and in relationships.

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