As a teenager who grew up in church, you could anticipate someone asking you at any given moment, "What's the Lord doing in your life?" It's an important question, but it became a joke as we got older because of how it was used.
It was the ambush question. It was the "we need to check off the spiritual conversation box" or the "I suspect you're not bearing fruit" question. I remember many times fumbling through my response, because I honestly wasn't sure sometimes.
Other times, I had what I felt was a great answer. Either way, it was often just plain awkward and rarely in the context of a conversation that had naturally arrived at that place of intimacy.
It became a litmus test for some, I think. Was there a readily quoted scripture or theological idea on the tip of the tongue to prove spiritual maturity?
There were people who dove in the theological deep end earlier than most, and that question became the fish hook for reeling you in. With great intentions, they put dread in the heart of the "average" Christian.
It's honestly funny looking back on it. My friend and I laughed about it recently when I jokingly asked him, "What's the Lord doing in your life?" I actually did want to know what he was learning, and I knew he would get a kick out of remembering that question.
The reality is that people actually want to go deeper, but they aren't always sure how to get there. The older I get the more I find myself in conversations about the more existential, spiritual, personal matters. It's not because I flat out ask people, though.
It's because those authentic conversations happen in the context of real relationships. There is nothing that interests me more than what someone else is learning, but it takes time to build the trust and intimacy to arrive there naturally.
Every once in a while those gems of a conversation do randomly show up, though. There are some people who are just especially gifted at tapping into that part of our hearts and others who are just very open. I appreciate both.
They're the type of people who you always feel refreshed and encouraged after being around them, like they knew exactly what you needed to hear.
But most of the time those moments of connectedness are wedged in between the regular happenings of life with the people we're committed to being in relationship with.
In light of this week's topic, I'll end with a question, because many of you have taken the time to comment or email me directly, and I am grateful for those "moments of connectedness."
If you are learning something right now, would you like to share? (comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org).