By Seth Taylor
Centuries ago, Celtic Pilgrims would head out on Pilgrimage with a little money and a little food in a pouch, having no destination or plan.
The idea was pretty simple: rather than seeking God to illuminate the path they were walking and take away their fear as a result; instead they sought to walk into the fear of the unknown so their own souls would be illuminated.
Thing is, that is what the spiritual path is.
It’s not this certainty-driven, “3 reasons why you have nothing to fear” religion we’ve been sold. Every faith tradition, including the Christian one, has at its core the wisdom that in order to know God, we must encounter a death of sorts.
And this is the nature of pilgrimage: we walk into the unknown so that the part of us that would have us stay safe and in charge and certain and satisfied—and addicted—dies. That’s a painful thought. These pilgrims would have almost certainly been given to the idea that it was likely they would never return.
A pilgrimage requires true surrender.
But enlightenment was the goal: an experience of a God that would confound the wise and transform a person into the very likeness of Christ.
This is why this struggle in our sexuality is not—I repeat: NOT—a battle. It is actually the ancient tradition of Pilgrimage: a sacred journey. Because in it, we are faced with the unknown and all of the fears we’ve kept at bay for so long. If it is a battle, it is because we’ve been sold some idea that the spiritual life is one of war. And that just simply isn’t the case. There’s no authority in war, only violence that leaves us back where we started.
Jesus said that if we lived by the sword, then we would die by it. And he also said that we get the thing we seek and that the doors we knocked on would be opened to us.
So picture the pilgrim on the road…
He’s out of food. He’s out of money. He sees a door of a home near the path in the woods and decides that, rather than starve, he will knock on that door and see whether the homeowners open it. There are no guarantees of safety—only the hope that this God we all love to talk about and pray to is actually real and has actual power.
So the question here is obviously this: what doors are you knocking on as you move through this experience?
I challenge you to do something nuts: put down your sword. Turn around and close your eyes….maybe if you do that, you will be able to see the path in front of you that the Spirit is calling you to walk. Straight into the fear, and shame, and pain that you’ve been medicating with all this stuff.
If you see the path, then you know what you have to do. Take the first step and then you can find freedom.
The first step is all that matters right now.
Maybe that’s to tell someone for the first time. Maybe that’s to read a book or call a good counselor. Maybe you and your partner need to have a talk. Doesn’t matter: it’s different for all of us.
But I can’t emphasize this enough: the next step is all that matters and it’s the most important thing in the world. Blessings to all of those who are seeking to be illuminated within their own souls.
I’ll see you on the road.
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