No matter how comfortable, gentrified, and predictable we try to make our physical lives, in our spiritual lives thrive in the wilderness.

Here’s what I mean. For me at least, I want to avoid as much life drama as possible. During parts of my life, particularly when I had young children and teenagers, and during the early stages of my career, I assumed lots of drama was normal.

Now, boring is good. For example, I don’t want whiney and complainy people around me, because I risk being pulled into their situation. I don’t respond to lots of Facebook posts that stir me up, because I don’t want to invest the energy into an argument that won’t go anywhere. I want to pick and choose carefully those people and situations I invest in because life is too short to engage in useless drama.

Of course, some drama is out of my control, but when I see I have a choice, I don’t have to invite every drama into my house.

Living in the wilderness spiritually is different, however. It is no accident that Jesus’ great tests were experienced out in the middle of nowhere with no one else around. That’s when we can cut through the needless, pointless drama and recognize genuine and transformative mystery.

We don’t find answers in the wilderness. We find the questions worth considering. We don’t find predictability, we find surprise. Our spirits seek a peaceful place, not so we can be bored but so we can listen to life without all the chatter and background noise. In the wilderness we have fewer options and no guarantees. Even the Israelites were given manna (bread from heaven) one day at a time during their forty years of wandering.

I enjoy my recliner at home, my leisure when I can get it, my predictable schedule when I can make it that way. But my spirit is always waiting for those moments of quiet, even in a noisy place, solitude even when surrounded by people, and awareness that allows me to say, “Isn’t this interesting. I wonder what’s in this moment I am not seeing yet?”