The spiritual life has its ups and downs. We get the opportunity to spend time with the Sacred in a safe loving space, communing, resting, rejuvenating, healing. Other times, we are confronted with huge tasks that feel overwhelming. We may not feel adequately equipped for some of what Spirit calls us to do. In those times we dig deep and find our inner strength, just as Spider-man did in the Washington Monument scene of Spider-man: Homecoming…
Spider-man was locked in the Deep Storage Vault and got bored. He went looking for a way to break out. While he was searching for a way, he came across another ‘glowy thing’ (which he found earlier on from the bad guys). Karen alerts him to the fact that the ‘glowy thing’ is an alien bomb.
Spider-man freaks out and spends all night breaking through the door. He races back to Washington, DC trying to get to Ned (his friend that has the ‘glowy thing’). He does not make it. Ned placed his backpack with the ‘glowy thing’ on a security belt. The radiation from the machine set the alien bomb ticking. When all Spider-man’s classmates are almost to the top of the Washington Monument, the bomb goes off, cutting a whole in the top of the elevator and leaving the class dangling in great danger of falling to the ground.
Spider-man, arriving at the monument just as the bomb goes off: Karen, what’s going on up there?
Karen: The core has detonated and caused severe structural damage to the elevator.
Spider-man: Oh no…. (running toward the monument and looking up) Oh my God that’s tall!
He leaps onto the wall of the monument and starts his spider-crawl up the monument….
The Spiritual Journey
Spider-man has not yet faced a challenge like this. He has to dig deep within himself and find his inner strength. It is there. He just needs to connect with it and use it.
This is similar to us in our spiritual journeys. Life has its ups and downs. Sometime we flow along our life path with ease. Other times it takes all our inner strength to make it one day, one task. Each time we exercise our ‘inner strength’ muscle we grow, expand, evolve, and learn to stand more fully in our spiritual power.
What I have learned about my own inner strength is that it is wrapped up in Spirit’s strength. Somehow, if I trust in Spirit, in Spirit’s guidance, empowerment, encouragement, I always have enough strength to work through the challenge that has been placed in my path.
It does not always feel that way. There are moments when I just want to quit, when I am so tired and exhausted I can not take even one more step. Yet, I do not know how I do it, I take that one more step. I feel like in those moments it is Spirit who is feeding me strength for that next step.
Hiking Franconia Notch
My dad and I used to go on an annual hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. My dad’s goal is to climb all the 4000 footers in NH. Mine was to walk as much of the Appalachian Trail as I can in my lifetime. So we began in NH.
The first hike my dad wanted to do was to hike from Franconia Notch to Crawford Notch across 5 or 6 4,000 plus foot mountains over three days. That seemed reasonable.
I worked hard getting in shape: running up and down flights and flights of stairs with a 30 pound backpack on; working out on the stair-master. I was ready!
Well, I was so not. The first mountain was great. We enjoyed the hike up to the peak. We stayed just below the peak and watched the sunset.
The next morning we were ridge running as my dad put it. In my mind that meant we summated and then walked a gentle ridge down and then back up to the next peak. Not so. It was 7 miles (if you were a bird flying). What we hiked was 7 miles either up or down. Between each peak (we had two to summit) there were 5-6 mini-peaks. That was not ridge running in my mind.
Well, needless to say, it took every ounce of my physical and spiritual strength to hike that day. I remember getting to a place where each step was a prayer, a prayer that I could take the next step.
Finding my strength
When I thought it could not get any more challenging, I found myself facing a 6 foot wall followed by 50 feet of 70 degree angled rock slab. Now, you should know I have height issues. My dad hoped up the wall and walked up the rock slab. I stood there staring, unable to breathe. Somehow I made it up the 6 foot wall, got to a seated position at the top and was frozen with fear. I looked up the slope and knew I had to move. Breathing deeply 5-7 times, I got on my knees. More deep breathes allowed me to stand. I prayed and stepped and prayed and stepped until I was up.
Because I had to dig deep that day, I learned I had a greater amount of inner strength than I could ever have imagined. That day taught me who I am, what I can do. It taught me that nothing, no obstacle, to challenge is too much if I am connected into Spirit, into the heart of the Sacred. If I align myself, pray, and take each step together, I will always have the strength I need to accomplish whatever task lies before me on my life path.
Spirit's strength is our strength
Our inner strength is Spirit’s strength. If we can believe that, then no matter what lies ahead of us on our life path, we can accomplish it. We can overcome any obstacle, and bring any co-creation we desire into this world.
Today, I invite you to ponder a time when you felt overwhelmed, when you had to dig deep to find your inner strength to accomplish whatever it was. Spend time in prayer, in the presence of Spirit, remembering, awakening your awareness of your strength and Spirit’s strength. How did Spirit empower, encourage you? How did Spirit increase your strength?
With gratitude in your heart, allow that awareness to integrate into all aspects of yourself. Know that when you feel overwhelmed, you are not alone. Spirit is there sharing strength with you.
Pastor Jocelyn Emerson weaves together her training as a Light and Energy worker, Reiki master, spiritual director, and Pastor with her life experience as a mystic and contemplative to offer a space of trust, safety, and honesty to support you on your life's journey.