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So, the retreat or conference is over.  Are you experiencing a let-down?  I know how you feel.  I’ve been there.  You feel reassured and renewed.  You are filled with new hope.  You are inspired.  You are enthusiastic.  You feel comforted and loved and warm and fuzzy.  You don’t feel so overwhelmed.  You feel more confident.  You trust.  You believe.  You are glowing just a bit, maybe even allot.  People notice – you seem different somehow.  Well, you did.  It’s fading.  That special time is over.  You’ve been plunked back down on the Time-Out Chair of your life.  You want to do the next right thing.  You want to make amends.  You want to make a difference.  You don’t want to forget.  You want live for God.  You feel pushed and pulled.  You feel…let down.  Yet, you don’t want to let God or yourself down.  You are crying out, “How, now?”  You are listening.  You are not so unique as you might think in how you are feeling right now.  I want to share with you how I’m taking it from the peak to the plains instead of the pits.  Please follow along and share your thoughts and questions.

Even though I experienced some painful moments while attending the Women of Faith Imagine conference in November 2010 at the Sprint Center of Kansas City, Missouri, I experienced a fabulous high.  Strip away all of the inspiring music, drama and speakers and you still have an arena of women who love God surrounding you.  Strip them away and allow me to be an audience to just the speakers or performers and I’m still filled with chills.  Strip everything away and leave me in my hotel room on a comfy bed with my Bible and I’m still richly blessed by a vacation from responsibilities, relationship challenges, and the realities of daily existence.  Screech!  Reentry jolts you back, replacing clarity with confusion and meeting resolve with resistance.  Any change represents loss.  If you start by minimizing the trauma, you reduce the energy you’ll need for grieving.

You can best preserve what you’ve gained from your spiritual experience by reflecting on a few key points.  Nothing good or bad lasts forever in this temporal ,material world of ours.  Emotions, the fabric of our humanity, are fleeting.  Remember that in Mark 9, the disciples wanted to camp out in the light and warmth on the peak, but Jesus led them down right into a crowd of people in need.  If you have felt a spiritual high, had a spiritual experience, you are changed.  However, how and when that change becomes apparent is dependent on many variables including how easily we can unseat the unhealthy patterns of acting that need coaxing out of their comfort zone in our brains.  Rarely is a resolution miraculously achieved, so bear with yourself patiently as you progress, sometimes three steps forward and two steps back.  Realize that our culture in general does not regularly encourage us in the practice of Christian principles or traditions, so seek support from like-minded persons or at least one soul-supporter.  Setting time aside for a spiritual practice that draws us into communion with God and “checking in” with someone who will encourage us will prove immensely valuable as we try to transition from holy hoopla to anointed action.

Now, here’s a practical suggestion to take it from the peak to the plains – bring to mind an “a-ha” moment from your experience and sum it up in one sentence.  Write it on several index cards, cut to size, and post them in places you encounter frequently – inside the cupboard door where you keep your cups and glasses, above the toilet paper roll, in your desk drawer next to the pens, etc.  Whenever you encounter one of the cards, pause to say it out loud or at least to yourself.  Try to recall it at any quiet moment and speak it into existence.  Forgetfulness is a favorite friend of the Devil.  Your subconscious does not know the difference between true and false, so it will absorb and accept whatever you feed it.  Logically, I want my mind to accept the reality that I propose to create.  God gave me choice to be a co-creator.  My “a-ha” to focus for now is this – “I’m being called to perfect myself, not to be perfect before answering God’s call.”  How about you?

Scripture Search Challenge (immerse yourself in the power of the Word by looking up and reading these Biblical references):  1 Cor 1:8-9, Jer 29:11, Rom 8:39

Most Gracious and Wondrous Lord, we praise you still as we pad down this slippery slope, trusting that we shall find peace-everlasting on the plains of our lives renewed.  Spare us from the pits of pride and pessimism and revive in us a passion to do your will increasingly with every passing moment.  All this with pray in the name of Jesus the Christ, Son of God and Son of Man.  God Almighty, let it be.