Do you wonder why bad things happen? Do you ask if God exists? Do you wrestle with what you are supposed to do with your life? We all ask such questions and ponder the meaning of life from time to time. We humans are curious, self-conscious beings and are continually working out who we are and what we are called to be. We are all looking for solutions to our dilemmas or answers to existential questions. Sometimes we are aware of the spiritual dynamic of our reflections and sometimes we are not. Sometimes we seek alone and sometimes with others. Sometimes when we seek, we think of ourselves as missing something or unfulfilled or incomplete. But there are many gifts to be found in the practice of seeking.
Seekers share certain qualities. A seeker is receptive. When we are looking for something, we are naturally open to finding something. We may be looking in the wrong place or for the wrong thing, but, by definition, when we seek we hope to find something. Seeking helps us to take notice of previously unseen possibilities. Openness and receptivity to those possibilities go along with the act of seeking.
A seeker may also experience confusion. Tough questions or dilemmas often present an array of feelings and directions to take. The many options may be a challenge to sort out and understand. A seeker may feel confused by it all. Although confusion may be uncomfortable, it can be the seeker’s friend! Confusion can prompt creative thinking or earnest listening. Confusion can lead to a willingness to try new things or go a direction that the seeker would never have imagined before.
A seeker makes time for new possibility. As a seeker waits for resolution, time allows for something to happen that may have been crowded out before. A discerning seeker may be surprised and delighted by how the imagination can be at work as one waits in the tension of seeking. The seeker’s dilemma or question invites new possibilities to emerge over time.
The practice of seeking requires vulnerability. The act of seeking can reveal parts of ourselves we had not been aware of before. This willingness to be vulnerable – even if it is just with ourselves – creates space for growth and healing. Real vulnerability can make us stronger.
Being a conscious seeker can be a gift. When we attend to our practice of seeking we begin to organize our thoughts and formulate our questions. Seeking may require us to articulate complex ideas and examine our thoughts and emotions. Seeking helps us to grow in self-awareness. Attending to how we seek, ask existential questions, and search for solutions to life’s dilemmas can help us grow in many ways.
When we seek, we are alive to creativity, possibility, surprise, clarity and delight. When we seek, we are moving. We are going someplace. A seeker is growing into wholeness. A seeker is becoming a new creation!
If you consider yourself a seeker, come on by sometime and let’s talk about it!
Catherine Tran is the Rector at Grace Church in Buena Vista. She also has a practice in spiritual direction and is the author of Spiritual Discovery: A Method for Discernment in Small Groups and Congregations (Rowman and Littlefield). Catherine may be contacted at email@example.com.