Take this as example: I recently met someone and when I found out he was a minister I became overly eager and excited to engage in a conversation about religion. Now, unfortunately, he took this "interest" the wrong way. I know you're not to (usually) begin any type of friendship talking about religion or politics, but because I was spiritually thirsty, I was there before I knew it. I bypassed getting his name and wanted to know his denomination and if he grew up in the Christian faith.
Now, because this guy told me he was a minister I thought it was safe to talk about religion, but when he told me that I was "moving too fast" with that conversation, it hit me: I was spiritually thirsty (and scratching my head about why a minister didn't want to talk for a moment about religion…). I was thirsty to dig into scripture and conversation. Thirsty to explore sacred text and art and opinion. Thirsty to bypass the small talk and to find a sense of spiritual community. But I learned, this is sacred intimate ground, not to be entered lightly or without invitation.
I know the church provides community. However, it's not so simple to just go to church for that. Not every church is open to authentic dialogue. Not every church is taking on the mind and spirit of Christ, even. If we are honest, not every church is friendly. Still, the church is an avenue.
But in between that, how does one quench their spiritual thirst? I think it's by spending more quality and intentional time with the Spirit. We cannot live by bread alone, scripture says. And there comes a time that what you've learned (in the church) is not enough to sustain your spiritual growth.
After my brief encounter with the guy who didn't want to engage in this type of conversation, I began to think about what it means to be spiritual thirsty, and what I've come away with is:
1. No one can fill your thirst.
We can often become enamored by someone who seems to be where we want to be spiritually or by someone who we hope will help us grow spiritually. People do come into our life, I believe, to help us grow but we must be committed to walk our path fully. If even alone.
2. We have signs.
The Holy Spirit often gives us signs of when we are running spiritually on empty. Our sleep pattern may be off. We might be cranky for no reason. And, we often feel hungry (or empty) even when we've eaten. We've got to pay attention to the silent signs and triggers.
3. There is beauty.
It's a good thing when we recognize there is a thirst. It's our way of knowing that there is room and a desire for more Spirit to show up and love us and express itself through us. That God is calling us deeper along the path and that we are noticing we truly want to go.
4. Daily dosage necessary.
We become thirsty when we neglect to daily hydrate. Just as there are daily rituals for our body, like bathing, there are daily rituals needed to feed our spiritual body. We must love ourselves enough to feed both our body and spirit with what gives us life energy. It's not enough to rest and feed the body. We must nurture our spirit, without apology. Our emotions and opinions change like the weather but our spiritual body is what is strong and unshakable.
The guy left without me getting his name (I laugh about it now) or him getting mine and I count this all as part of the spiritual path that keeps us learning and growing.
If you don't mind me asking, where are you on your spiritual journey and what are you doing to keep from becoming spiritually dehydrated? How do you quench your spiritual thirst? Where does community come to play in that for you?