Growing up in the Pentecostal church, there were mostly two kinds of people; those who were ‘spiritual’ and those who were not.
In that context, being ‘spiritual’ meant to chase after whatever God was saying, to be fascinated by the unseen world, to understand (and use) spiritual gifts. In short, you’d know a ‘spiritual’ person if you met one.
These days, outside the church, ‘being spiritual’ means something quite different. It’s usually the umbrella term people grab to describe their lack of religion. They believe in something, but they’re not quite sure what, so they’re ‘spiritual‘.
The kind of spiritual I’m talking about is spelled with a capital ‘S’, it means, ‘pertaining to or consisting of the spirit’. It’s not a loosey, goosey term to describe a lack of belief, but it’s a stake-in-the-ground word which says something about a person’s Christian journey.
Here’s the thing. Without even realising it, I’m drawn to Spiritual people. I love nothing more than discussing culture, news or the Bible through a quirky spiritual lens. And when you find similar, like-minded people, your heart thumps and it feels like home. But for every Spiritual Christian out there, there’s 5 others who shift uncomfortably if the conversation morphs into something deeper. That’s not a judgement by the way, it’s just one of the ways we are different from each other.
The truth is, real Spirituality is uncomfortable. It forces us to confront areas in our lives which aren’t Godly. It pushes harmful secrets into the open. It nudges us to turn over when the programme we’re watching falls into a cesspit. It forces us to live a life which isn’t about ambition or ‘me’, but about something bigger, deeper, something eternal.
Whether we like it or not, we were all created as spiritual beings. Even if it’s deeply buried, we’ve all got an innate sense written into our code, a sense of something bigger, beyond ourselves. I think this can be what motivates people to constantly be on the go, to achieve more, make more…it’s the lifelong search for the thing we can’t quite catch.
C.S Lewis once said; If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.
For me, being ‘Spiritual’ or being made ‘for another world’ means that I’m motivated for more than what I can see around me. That knowledge helps me, on tough days, to try and think with an eternal perspective. What’s God trying to say through this? Is there something I could be learning here?
It doesn’t make the hard times easier to bear, but it does remind me that this life isn’t all there is. There is more going on around us than we can see with our physical eyes. There is more to come. We were made for more.
And when I meet another person who gets that, who sees the world through those eyes, it’s like, ‘wow…they get me’.
And then comes (often!) an in-depth (sometimes heated) discussion about how the world is changing or how to stand strong against the surrounding narrative (which is usually contrary to all the Bible says). It’s great.
But it comes at a price. Spirituality really isn’t something that’s handed over like a Christmas gift. It’s usually something that develops after tough times, when everything is lost. It’s the thing you discover at the bottom of the barrel, when everything else is taken away.
It’s what Job discovered while he sat in ashes and which allowed him to say, ‘I know that my redeemer lives’.
It’s what King David found, after his affair and murderous cover-up were discovered, and he was able to repent and then get up and worship God.
It is awareness of more.
Knowing we were made for ‘another world’ gives us a reason to keep persevering, to keep going, when all else seems lost.