By Pastor Royston Smith
There are many views about spirituality. To the secular mind, it is about finding your inner self through personal reflection, time in nature, private mediation or actively practicing an eastern activity such as yoga or Tai Chi. In the religious world, spiritually is all about you connecting with God and becoming a devotee of a faith group. So, you can be spiritual without being religious. The contrary is also true. Spirituality is about finding purpose and a strong belief in a higher power external to oneself. That is, to become a spiritual person you need to connect with something or someone, outside of yourself.
A spiritual person must be intimately involved with the object of their affection. This involves deep reflection and contemplation. The result is admitting your love and putting yourself under its control.
American self-help author and a motivational speaker Wayne Dyer states, “When you are spiritually connected, you are not looking for occasions to be offended, and you are not judging and labelling others. You are in a state of grace in which you know you are connected to God and thus free from the effects of anyone or anything external to yourself.”
Our spirituality has a strong influence on the decisions we make. When making decisions, we are more mindful of the impact the outcome will have on others. A spiritual person for example, is more likely to recycle than one who is not. Why? Because caring for the environment means caring for others. Also, a spiritual person is less anxious and is less likely to suffer from poor mental health. Or, when faced with emotional or physical stress they are more resilient and resourceful in finding peace, purpose, and hope.
Interestingly, mental health advocate, Dr Deborah Cornah, noted that trauma can deepen a person’s religious and spiritual experience which helps them cope. Many spiritual people use prayers as that vital bridge to cope with everyday life and affliction, thereby, reaching outside of self to find the anchor necessary to survive. The Apostle Paul writes, Hebrews 6:19, “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;” Indeed, there will be storms and turmoil within, but that anchor without, holds us together. We are flawed and fragile. No good thing dwells in us or can proceed from us.
Thus, to be anchored and free we must yield, humble ourselves to the mercies of God and recognise our need of him as Lord of our lives.
The hope of the non-religious spiritual is not like the hope of the religious spiritual. With the former, hope is uncertain, unclear and often unexamined. For the latter, hope is sure, and never disappoints. The focus is not just on the present but more so on a glorious future. 1 Corinthians 13:12, captures this perspective beautifully, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
We all put our faith and trust in someone or something that we believe is greater than ourselves. Here, we find purpose and meaning. Life brings storms and situations that Satan will use to tempt us. In our own strength, we are guaranteed to fail. Sometimes our current challenges drive us to helplessness, create misery and disorientates us.
A little boy was flying his kite. The string had travelled so far that the kite was no longer visible to the human eye. A stranger walked by, looked up and saw nothing. She was baffled and confused, as the boy was holding tightly to the string. So, she questioned the boy if he really was holding on to the kite. The little boy smiled and said, “Yes, Ma’am.”
“How do you know for sure? “She responded, “Because I can feel it tugging on the line!” He spoke.
In these dark and dingy moments, we need more than spirituality to steady our mind and life. Job understood this concept very well, Job 11: 18,19; “You will be secure because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favour.” Job’s spirituality was anchored in the supreme God. Where is your spiritual anchor?
Father God, help us to remember our anchor is in you. Please keep us fastened, safe and secure in you, amen.