Sunday, July 21, 2013

Spirit half empty

Last semester, I was given a devotional/Bible study called Ask to Listen. I went through it because being attuned to the Holy Spirit sounded wonderful, and I hadn't much experienced it at that point. I'm currently reading Francis Chan's Forgotten God, partially because it's required reading and the rest because being attuned to the Holy Spirit sounds wonderful, and I haven't much experienced it at this point.

In my mind's eye, listening to the Holy Spirit looks like receiving a constant stream of messages, little nudges and reminders throughout the day that help me do this, point me in that direction, keep me spiritually "in line." Looking at this picture, though, I'm not sure I should categorize it as mere wishful thinking or just willful misunderstanding. The more I read about being filled with the Spirit, the less it seems to be about the messages we're given.

I'm looking for guidance, but maybe that's not the point. The people I read about don't seem to be seeking words, but seeking to be filled. Take Brother Lawrence, for example, a humble monk who constantly practiced the presence of God:
"My day-to-day life consists of giving God my simple, loving attention. If I am distracted, he calls me back in tones that are supernaturally beautiful.... Sometimes I imagine that I'm a piece of stone, waiting for the sculptor. When I give myself to God this way, He begins sculpting my soul into the perfect image of His beloved Son. At other times, I feel my whole mind and heart being raised up into God's presence, as if, without effort, they had always belonged there.... I want Him to do whatever He pleases with me; all I want is to be completely His."
- Fifth letter of Brother Lawrence
This is what I'm missing. I don't really want to complain about how much I suck, because I did that last week. But I want the Spirit to be evident in my life. I want to do better than just slipping in that I'm Christian in casual conversation with my coworkers. I want to cure my sudden onset of ADD while I'm praying. I want the peace that comes with fully and completely trusting God, or so I've heard. I want more of the Spirit.

I know He's here. He's worked miracles of providence before my eyes. But I still think I'm living with my spiritual glass half empty. Thinking of it as "half full" instead doesn't help.

I want to be Spirit-filled.

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