Part of the Series The Twelve Days as Twelve Ways to Deepen Your Connection with God.
You're walking now. It's night. Away from the city lights you're more able to perceive the haunting beauty of the landscape around you. As you do, two things begin to happen to you.
First, with each step you take farther on and deeper in, you sense a growing anticipation rising within you. In your heart, there's a growing conviction that you've finally set out on the one journey that truly matters; you're pursuing the Ultimate, the Absolute, the Source and Goal of all life. All you were made for and destined to be lies at the end of this journey, bathed in the pure radiance of the star's bright light.
Second, you notice you've begun to enter a new and strange land you've never seen before, never even known existed. The familiar landmarks are gone. You've moved off the map. You're lost to all except the light of the star. Anticipation emboldens you, but the strangeness of this new land unnerves you.
If you've not know something of this eagerness and nervousness, you've not gone far enough on the spiritual journey; your praying's been too safe. At some point, all who seek God must find themselves carried into some kind of desert experience, for the desert is the furnace of transformation. In the desert, we're stripped of all we've carried but do not need. In the desert, we're stripped down, relieved of burdens and attachments, until the only thing remaining is the nakedness of the heart's pure trust in God. All we've valued, all we've used to justify ourselves, prove ourselves, make ourselves worthy and lovable and useful is irrelevant here. All we thought we needed to survive, we don't need. Only one thing is needed, and That can never be taken from us.
This is the very reason why every spiritual "athlete" from Abraham to Mother Theresa was pressed by the Holy Spirit into the desert. Welcome. You've now joined them.
Today, I'll acknowledge that the desert frightens me and I don't easily surrender all I've accumulated up to this point. But I know I must not avoid the desert and its healing, liberating power of I'm to find what I'm looking for.