I realized one recent morning that I am spiritually autistic. (I mean absolutely no disrespect regarding that particular disorder. As a teacher I have seen many beautiful children struggle in various areas of the spectrum. They and their families have my utmost respect and admiration.)
That morning I was faced with some very challenging thoughts via Brennan Manning and then Ted Dekker. (Some would say right here that I get what I deserve. Those two spiritual powerhouses should never be taken in tandem doses. I’m not totally crazy, I promise. It was almost an accident.) I wasn’t in my normal rush that morning, so as these challenging thoughts came to me, I allowed myself time to think them through. That thought process went something like this:
Hm. Wow, that’s deep. It seems this concept has been brought to my mind a lot recently. I wonder if God is trying to tell me something. I mean, that’s a really Big Idea. I need to just sit quietly and prayerfully consider this for a few minutes…. This could change my life. But what do I have to do? Think. Quietly. Pray. Okay, freaking out a little. (Patting dog.) She needs a haircut. I wonder if I could get her in Saturday? (Pick up phone, scroll through email.) Wait, wait. Back to thinking.
At this point, the thoughts have moved into hyperdrive and are all happening at once and my inner spiritual self is slowly curling into a fetal position, hands over ears, rocking and humming.
Just as some people on the autism spectrum need to narrow their world, retreating into themselves, I felt the panicked response reverberate through me. Too much. Too much. I’m too unable. My fingers in my spiritual ears, my inner voice muttering, “blah, blah, blah” in total avoidance.
But do I want to stay the way I am? Well, why not? I’m an okay person. I love God and His Word. I have a good relationship with them both. I continue to grow spiritually. Perhaps not too quickly or too much…
But what if there’s something…more?
Aye, thar’s th’ rub. I may claim to want something more, but at what price? I feel maxed out now – doing all I can do. I’m pretty sure I’m not capable of more. Simply put, I’m scared.
There’s a scene in a children’s move, Rescuers Down Under, that I was reminded of recently. A young boy has just bravely rescued a huge golden eagle and, in her gratitude, she takes him for a spin on her back through the clouds.
Then she descends to a river and he “skis” at happy high speeds as she pushes him from behind. We don’t see what the boy sees ahead of him – we just see the sudden fear on his face. He glances nervously back at the eagle, looks into her steady eyes. His expression transforms into one of determination and he turns back around – leans forward. Suddenly, he is pushed right off the edge of a huge, high waterfall. He spreads his arms, lifts his head, and soars, the eagle swooping under to easily catch him.
He went from fear to faith…to flying.
If that boy had been this woman, he would have turned on the water and grabbed that eagle around her neck and hung on tight. He would still have been taken care of and safe. And he would have had the previous experience to remember, but he would have missed the bigger blessing.
He wouldn’t have flown.
There’s a waterfall just ahead. I can hear it and see it. So the question: Am I ready to fly?