I've been working on formulating the story of my whole spiritual life to share with a friend who considers himself an atheist this weekend. I am very much looking forward to the discussion--both to sharing my own story and listening to his. But it's different than sharing with anyone I've talked to before. Most of the people I have known in the past have had some sort of religious experience or position. It's somewhat intimidating to think of sharing with someone who doesn't share even the basic assumption that there is a God in the universe.
I mean, how can I explain why I've done the things I've done? How do I explain how I've interacted with God? How can I explain that I sense God leading me to do certain things at certain times? How can I explain what a relationship with an invisible God looks and feels like?
I think it's really important to share my struggles with God over the years. I think it's important to be honest about the questions I've had and the questions I still have. I think I have to own my doubts and my issues and my fears and my frustrations. I think it's important that I don't pretend that I have all the answers--because I don't.
It kind of has me wondering though--what's the core of this whole relationship-with-God thing? What is the most important thing to communicate about it? I know that I don't have to take responsibility for presenting God in a certain kind of light--he's God and he can defend his own honor. But I don't want my own human questions and frustrations to get in the way.
I've done the preparation of thinking through my journey and the spiritual signposts along the way. I've thought through the major events of my life, spiritually and otherwise. Now I'm simply praying that when I describe my life and what I perceive as God's interactions with me, God will be able to speak through me. And I'm praying that I'll be able to hear his questions and objections with a humble and loving spirit.
It's such an amazing gift to have friends like him and to have the opportunity to share so deeply from my heart. If you're reading, I hope you'll pray with me, that the Spirit will lead and guide and be present in our interaction. If he doesn't mind, I'll try to debrief the convo afterward here.