My heart and head have been riveted by this quote from Rowan Williams, taken from my reading of Eugene Peterson’s Under the Unpredictable Plant for my course on Christian ministry this semester. (I’ve replaced “pastor” with “Christian” in my reading.)
What is useless and destructive is to imagine that enlightenment of virtue can be found in seeking for fresh stimulation. The [Christian] life is a refusal of any view that will make human maturity before God dependent on external stimulus, ‘good thoughts,’ good impressions, edifying influences and ideas. Instead, the [Christian] must learn to live with his or her own darkness, with the interior horror or temptation and fantasy. Salvation affects the whole of the psyche; to try to escape boredom, sexual frustration, restlessness, unsatisfied desires by searching for fresh tasks and fresh ideas is to attempt to seal off these areas from grace. Without the humiliating and wholly ‘unspiritual’ experiences of [regular life] – the limited routine of trivial tasks, the sheer tedium and loneliness – there would be no way of confronting much of human nature. It is a discipline to destroy illusions. The [Christian must commit to regular life] to escape the illusory […] identity proposed by the world; he and she now have to see the roots of illusion within, in the longing to be dramatically and satisfyingly in control of life, the old familiar imperialism of the self bolstered by the intellect.