I’ve been blogging through Sue Monk Kidd’s When The Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction For Life’s Sacred Questions. The final chapter in this book about midlife’s transitions is entitled “Unfurling New Wings”. (Earlier installments in this series can be found here.)
If all souls developed in cookie-cutter fashion, we would have spirituality by duplication rather than by waiting and transformation. Yet the tendency exists among Christians to want everybody to be at the same place at the same time. You know how it goes. Everybody should be actively ministering. (But even Jesus had seasons of waiting as well as ministering.) Everybody should be happy. (But even Jesus was at times sad, anguished, and in pain.) Everybody should be relating to God in the same way. (But even Jesus related to God in different ways – sometimes inwardly, sometimes outwardly.) What would happen if we allowed people to unfurl their wings and move into the fulness of being each in her own time and way?
This desire for conformity to certain norms and ideals is what sometimes passes for discipleship during the first half of life. Too many churches lean heavily on the cookie-cutter notion of followership. It’s a tricky business, as discipleship is about modeling faith so it can be both caught and taught by the next generation. However, sometimes peer pressure substitutes for genuine spiritual direction – direction that includes waiting and trusting God to do the transforming. Our own awkward middle school years should have taught us that peer pressure rarely leads us to become the people God made us to be. [Read more]