In the book of Genesis there is a story about a man named Jacob, who while sleeping under a field of stars, has a dream about a stairway that rested on the earth and ascended into the heavens. At the top of the staircase is God, who promises to bless and prosper Jacob and assures him that he and his offspring will be a blessing to all nations.
Great dream to build a life upon, don’t you think?
However, as Jacob’s story unfolds, he quickly seems to forget about this empowering vision as he manipulates and deceives his way to the top of the staircase of financial success and power. Jacob’s story has the underlying feeling of a man who is not at peace with himself; a man who stands conflicted, spending his days searching for some hidden or lost treasure.
But what treasure is Jacob actually searching for?
Could it be that he is silently driven by a deep seated fear of not being good enough, and, despite the promises and blessings given to him, he still believes he needs to earn his way to the top of the ladder in order to be valued, esteemed and accepted?
And if so, to whom is he trying to prove his worth?
His dad or his mom?
His brother Esau?
His relatives, peers, or perhaps even himself?
What if there is even more to the story than the naked eye can read or see? What if there is more to your story than what you have been believing and focusing your attention on? What if there is more to all of our stories?
The 13th century Persian poet Rumi wrote, “From the moment you came into the world, a ladder was placed in front of you that you might transcend it…” Perhaps just like Jacob’s dream, we all have a staircase before us that rests on the earth and ascends into the heavens – into paradise. And perhaps if we take a closer look to why we do what we do, whatever that may be, we might discover this staircase, and in so doing, discover a whole new reality of what it is we are truly searching for.
Your Search for Transcendence:
“…Sex is not a rival to spirituality, but rather a pointer to it,” wrote Philip Yancey.
A number of years after my dad’s suicide, these simple words created a shift in my mind around my struggle with pornography. These words opened my eyes to the possibility that pornography was a means to satisfy the needs I was blind to at that time in my life. These beautiful words opened my heart to see that there was something deeply spiritual hidden behind my actions.
“It’s what we can’t face that destroys us,” sings Stephen Fearing.
Perhaps there is something in your life you are consciously or unconsciously running from – a feeling, a memory, an image, or a deep-seated belief. The truth is, until you and I learn how to face whatever it is we may be running from, “it” will become the very thing that destroys us – individually and corporately.
You and I are spiritual beings. We are created to soar, to live with purpose and dignity, to live in friendship with our neighbour and our environment as we walk side by side with our Creator throughout our daily adventures.
But this is not the life most of us experience. Rather, we are often left feeling bruised and broken as our lives are being silently driven by our shadow – the voice of fear that relentlessly shouts, “You are not enough, you loser!”
And as a result, we often find an attainable way to transcend our inner turmoil and angst. We always will, it is in our very DNA. Please hear me when I say – you do not turn to pornography, or alcohol, or food, or gambling, or some other drug of choice because there is something wrong with you. Absolutely not!
Whatever your drug of choice is, remember: It is not a rival to spirituality, but rather a pointer to it. A pointer to discover who you truly are; a pointer to help you remember what it is you deeply desire; a pointer to inspire you to craft a new story for your life – one filled with love, adventure, hope, and wellness.
Today it’s time to chart a new course for your life. As Stephen Fearing goes on to sing, “Unbind your secret shadow and find the brilliance you need…”
Today’s Unitas Project:
- Ask yourself: “What does pornography give me?” Feel free to substitute pornography with food, alcohol, beer, wine, chips, chocolate, sex, gambling, smoking, work, religion, cocaine, sugar, etc.
- Be curious. Sit silently with the question and notice what you discover about where the staircase leads.
Until next time…
Be You. Be Unitas.
Photo by Alina Joy Photography