During the remainder of this month, the liturgy focuses our attention on the end times. In the Gospel (Luke 20:27-38) for the 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus encounters those who like to test and trap him with outlandish examples of “what if….” And once again, Jesus counters their inanity by a simple and direct teaching: God is the God of both the living and the dead and we are all God’s children.
So often we allow ourselves to become paralyzed by conjecture. We focus on the many possible scenarios that could be derived from a particular situation instead of picking a way of action and then following it through. While it is good to analyze the options available to us, eventually we need to choose one and move forward.
We are approaching the end of the Church year. The First Sunday of Advent is just around the corner. I encourage you to do a spiritual “year-end analysis.” Ask yourself where you were a year ago in your walk with the Lord and where are you now. Have things improved? Are you closer to God in prayer? Have you begun to conquer some of the demons in your life? Have you set new goals and priorities to further your progress in the spiritual realm?
I’ve been reading a few books lately and while they are geared toward the secular, the principles that are outlined in the books may be applied to our spiritual progress as well. The first two are written by Brené Brown: “The Gifts of Imperfection” and “I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t).” Dr. Brown writes about our giftedness as God’s creatures (although she avoids theological language) and how we need to learn to accept who we are and not try to live up to the expectations of others. Jesus modeled this very well. His detractors always tried to twist his words to fit their preconceptions. They wanted him to be like they were. Jesus was his own person. We have to learn to become our own persons and not worry about what others think of us. The third book is by Dave Ramsey: “Financial Peace Planner.” How many of us waste money on frivolous things? Could we feel more secure financially? Mr. Ramsey’s principles could be applied to our spiritual lives: getting rid of spiritual debt, allocating time and energy in a balanced way, and preparing for one’s spiritual future. I’m not trying to sell books. I don’t receive any commissions. But for those who may need some additional help to do a spiritual inventory, these books may provide some assistance.
We are all God’s children and God is calling us into life. However, if we continue to wallow in a spiritual desert, we will never get to the heavenly oasis. Take some time this week and chart where you’ve been spiritually and where you want to be next year at this time.