We make things so hard.
Sitting across from a young bride-to-be recently who had come to me for advice when she heard I married in college, I heard myself say words I never dreamed I would say - and certainly not now, when ministry is literally my job.
"I would encourage you to not over-spiritualize this."
I'm not sure who was more surprised by the sound of those words hanging in the air, but the words kept flowing straight from the depths of my heart. Like an older sister who could see her baby sister heading toward a cliff, I felt the need to grab her and turn her another, safer way.
I fell there before. I just wanted to keep her from falling, too.
Avoiding that trap, those hurts, is simple, really.
We might not like simple, but that is the Lord's way more often than not.
To be fair, I am in a season where Jesus is rocking my world and His presence is making every last thing feel "over spiritualized" from the world's perspective, but I meant what I said. We are so quick to whip out a checklist of all the good things we can do to ensure we are traveling down a path toward Heaven that we forget to look up and follow the one who is leading us. Lists are nice. Maps, too. But y'all. If Siri can help us navigate through traffic around wrecks and traffic jams, how much more can the Lord of all, the Creator of all the paths we'll ever find lead us through this life?
He's already there.
"You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways."
I love my husband. He's my very favorite person on this planet. But there are nooks and crannies of this old busted up heart he'll just never see, much less understand. He's not my Maker. He's not my God. It goes both ways. If, in an effort to love him well, I created my own agenda, I would cheat him out of the wife and the life that God intended for him.
Thankfully, the sweet girl I met with seemed light years ahead of where I was when I was in her shoes.
Still, those words keep echoing in my ears. They keep sticking to all the areas of my life. I want to love my children well. I want to be faithful to disciple them. I want them to be provided for and to lack nothing. I want to be a good friend, attentive to needs, and quick to celebrate what needs celebrating. When I walk through the world, I want to look less like me and more like Jesus, that those who are longing for the peace He can bring might catch a glimpse of it in me. I want to be a faithful steward and most days, I'm just not.
I am so prone to wander, so quick to fret, so guilty of grasping for control, so apt over-spiritualize it all.
Jesus had some words for that, too. Words that would hang in the air and take us by surprise, too.
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet i tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you."
Friends, we've made it too hard. In an effort to share our faith with the world, we've become less faithful than the least of them. It's not about us. Checklists, maps, agendas not required - obedience alone.
He'll make it all beautiful, in His time and His way.
Don't over-spiritualize it... any of it.
He's already in all of it.