AS (Ante-Script): Please be reminded that the target audience of this blog is married men who consider themselves "Christians." Of course, women are most welcome as well as singles, but just know that my writing is specifically aimed at Christian husbands. With that in mind, read on!
I recently heard a pastor give his definition of a spiritually mature man as one who reads his Bible, prays, makes sure to take his family to church every Sunday, and is going to a mid-week men's study. This is the man he considers ready to advance from getting the milky fundamentals of The Faith to eat the solid food that a more spiritually mature man needs. I know from personal experience that you can do all of those things and much more without being more than a babe in Christ. See the first part of "Now What?" for the checklist.
Having been in a spiritually barren place myself, my wife would describe me using certain words and phrases that we have since heard other wives describe their husbands with:
Distant, disconnected, disengaged,
callous, numb, disinterested,
far-away, there but not there, uncommunicative,
vacant, unaware, ignorant,
out of it, missing, empty,
distracted, numb, oblivious.
When we are in a spiritually barren place, we men can also be inconsistent and can come out of our spiritual slumber long enough to be explosively angry, impatient and frustrated. This can make our wives and children feel mostly ignored and then really want to be invisible, or want us to just go away. I know this because I lived it.
I went to the dentist recently and had the right side of my face numbed. The dental assistant warned me that since I couldn't feel my lips I needed to be extra cautious because I could damage them without knowing it, because I couldn't feel them. Within a day the numbness wore off and I could feel again. If my spirit is numb I can cause it damage and I won't know if I'm causing damage to others, either.
So, on a day-to-day basis, the practice of my re-born spirit is to become more and more aware of and sensitive to my own spirit and the spirits of those close to me. That means I pay attention to other's spirits to see what I can discern in them and I pay attention to the physical circumstances that come into my life and how they make me feel and affect my spirit. If I make a study of spiritual things, I will become familiar with them, comfortable with them, knowledgeable about them and sensitive enough to become a "spiritual leader."
God help me.