Spiritual Depth

I have have been quiet lately. I have found it difficult to be motivated to write. To be perfectly honest, I have found it difficult to be motivated to dream, and dreaming really is the source of good writing. We dream about where we have been, what God is doing in our lives at the present time, and what our future might hold. These things form the basis of writing and speaking about the Christian life.

I have found it difficult to dream, because I am increasingly dissatisfied with the status quo of the Christian life, as it is commonly lived today. I have this growing conviction that God has intended so much more for us than what we are currently experiencing. A deeper, richer intimacy with Jesus and with one another. And in the absence of this more abundant life, I have become somewhat despondent.

Now, before you get too worried, my faith is still strong – stronger than ever – because God’s promises have become even more vibrant and real to me in recent months. And I am hopeful, because I have witness God moving in incredible ways in my life, as I seek to rely more fully on Jesus each day. The Holy Spirit is helping me to trust God more fully for the strength to live for him.

And yet, I find myself spiritually dissatisfied with where I am. This spiritual dissatisfaction has made it much harder to dream. Maybe you can identify with these feelings yourself.

Dissatisfaction Leads to Depth

I had a bit of a breakthrough this morning as I reflected and prayed about what I have been experiencing lately. I feel like God whispered to me in a moment of silence and contemplation that some of what I am missing is relationships filled with spiritual depth.

People with whom I am acquainted seem to hover always at the surface of what is really going on in their lives. Most of us are content to while away the hours with talk of the superficial, while ignoring deeper spiritual realities. Nobody is immune from this. Avoidance of spiritual depth is a plague in our communities, and it affects Christians and church leaders as much as anyone.

We avoid spiritual depth because it is safer, and easier, and requires far less of a commitment to honesty about who we are and how we struggle. But, over time, this constant attention to surface-level details begins to whittle away at us.
We know, intuitively, that people aren’t being completely honest, when they say they are “fine” or constantly talk about how great things are in their lives. We know this can’t be all that there is, because our own experience differs so significantly. Yet, we also choose to remain superficial in our relationships, because we don’t want to risk that we might be the only one with deeper concerns.

And so we become somber, disconnected, and increasingly dissatisfied.

We have been created in the image of God to be spiritual beings. And yet, I have a growing sense that people are largely unaware or unwilling to address this fundamental aspect of who they are. And the more this realization dawns on me, the more dissatisfied I become with the status quo.

But what if this is how God intends to get our attention? What if that growing spiritual dissatisfaction that you and I are feeling is intended to wake us from our slumber? What if God is using this to create a hunger in us for true intimacy with himself and others?

What if spiritual dissatisfaction is the pathway to spiritual depth?

What then?


Isaac Hopper

Isaac Hopper (PhD, Manchester) is a United Methodist Pastor serving churches in the Indiana Conference. He writes publicly about Christian discipleship, faith, and living the called life. He also writes academically about Wesleyan theology and practice.