Have you ever had a spiritual high? I used to go to camps when I was younger. I’d come back from camp all excited about life and God. I’d have made declarations and renewed decisions. I was sure my life would be forever different—and probably, to some degree, it was. But once I was home from camp and back at school for about a week, the high wore off. Not just one time. Every time.
I wonder what it would be like to be a monk? I think the sacrifice, discipline and commitment their lives demonstrate is impressive. And there have been times when I’ve wanted to leave my life as I know it and live in a monastery on a hill in an awesome foreign country where there are monasteries on hills. It’d be serene, simple, and—in my mind—it would be a spiritual “high.” The air would be thin, and the distance between me and God would be even thinner.
When the high wears off of a spiritual experience, a lot of people question the experience entirely. Was it real? Was it contrived? Did I get caught up in emotionalism or some kind of fake hype? I’m convinced that those “camp” kinds of experiences are real. They are reminders of what is possible. But their lack of long-term sustainability is the normal experience of life for a reason: it is much harder work to maintain a spiritual high in context of “normal.”
And yet that is the journey. That is the daily goal.
What if we could sustain it—a spiritual high? What if a spiritual high was a reminder of what’s possible in our regular lives? Not to inspire us all move to a hut on a hill, but, instead, to beckon us to something more…something more in the context of the common—in the normal of everyday. The reality is that spiritual growth happens in the context of real life.
Spiritual highs happen on mountain tops to keep us going when we get back down to the bottom of the mountain again, and to remind us of what’s possible. They remind us of what’s around the corner and behind the veil of the invisible.
Don’t give up on spiritual growth because you haven’t been able to sustain your high or because you aren’t “feeling it” right now. Don’t run to the hype spiritual activities and religious adventures as if they are your only hope. They too, can be reminders and catalysts, but they aren’t the point. The point is that you can encounter the Divine anywhere—everywhere.
Remember too, that spiritual growth often happens when you aren’t expecting it. It happens when you’re going through hard times. It happens when you’re desperate and cry out for help. It happens when you make small changes to daily habits and remind yourself regularly that God is near. Are you looking? Are you growing? You probably are.