Is attentiveness to small things, rather than trying to grapple with large concepts and ideas, the way to best nurture our relationship with God?

Written By Paula Huston

On a day-to-day basis, probably so.  The danger of expending most of our energy intellectualizing about spiritual concepts rather than trying to live them out is that we can get enthralled with our own mental drama—our great questions, our breakthroughs and discoveries—and forget that the point of the Christian journey is transformation into holiness.  And so much of that process depends on simply becoming aware of bad habits, weak places, moments of temptation, moments of doubt or despair—along with moments when we feel suddenly transported, or infused with sheer joy, or filled with thanksgiving, or connected to God in some deep, new way.  When we are overly busy thinking about concepts (“brain candy,” as one of my Buddhist friends puts it) rather than living the life in slow, incremental steps, we can easily lose our way and become discouraged.  I think one of the most helpful virtues in the spiritual life is thus patience, which is a side effect of hope.  There’s something very beautiful about the intricate metamorphosis that gets set into motion when our whole being is finally oriented toward the light.  It’s as though it has always been there, waiting to begin, the moment we are ready to put our entire trust in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.