“Is that something new?” I pointed to my colleague’s neck, adorned with a necklace with a silver pendant.
“Actually it’s not new but I just began wearing it again a few months ago.” She pulled it out to give me a closer look. “When I was a little girl, my parents gave one to all of the children. It is a Buddhist charm. On one side is a Chinese character for blessing. It was even blessed by a Buddhist priest.”
“Wow, thank you for sharing all that information!”
“Of course! I used to wear it growing up but when I got to college, I began questioning many of the things that I grew up with and I thought, ‘I don’t believe in this so why should I wear it?’ But as I grow older, I find myself wishing to reconnect with my culture.”
“And now you have a young son.”
“Absolutely! I want him to connect with his culture as well.”
I reflected upon my colleague’s experience. Many people’s worldviews are challenged for the first time in college. Ideals and cultural traditions ingrained in a family, now become suspect. Why am I doing this? I asked this question during college. I met many people from different countries. I encountered political viewpoints that differed from my family. I learned about religions that I had never previously encountered. I embraced these changes and was a very different person after graduating from college, but was I fulfilled?
Sometimes it takes life’s transitions to motivate us to reconnect with our cultural roots. A new job, marriage, children, growing older-all of these transitions differentially impact us, throwing us off balance. At some point, we find ourselves desirous to reconnect with our core values, to regain the stability of our youth, finding it with memories of how we were raised.
My spiritual life is no different. When I first became a Christian, I hungered to learn about God. I devoured my Bible and on the inside cover I would record the dates when I completed reading the Old Testament and New Testament. Nearly every free moment was spent with the Bible. I felt my knowledge and faith were embryonic and I had to catch up with other Christian believers who were raised in the church or had been Christians longer than I had. Sadly, the Bible reading abruptly stopped when the activities of life intervened: my first job, marriage, and children. My time in fellowship with other believers and our local church also diminished. My passion to read the Bible and spend time with God was replaced with other loves. I was happy because my personal and professional life were flourishing, but I was not fulfilled. Why was I doing this?
But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first…
Revelation 2:4-5 (NLT)
I rationalized that my activities as a husband, father, and physician were now my chief spiritual responsibilities. These are important signs of a healthy spiritual relationship but I was ignoring the most important relationship, my love for Jesus Christ. I found my original Bible with the dates written on the inside cover and reconnected with God. I rediscovered the joy and love I once had as I once again immersed myself in spending time with God and reading the Bible.
God created us for relationships and many of these may dominate our lives. If we allow these other relationships to substitute for our relationship with God, we are headed down a precarious path. As Christians, we should always reconnect with our core values and first love, our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.