A few weeks ago, my men’s group went to Theology on Tap together. I was not super interested in attending for various reasons. However, the men’s group was going, and this introvert sometimes has to force himself to be a person. So, I gritted my teeth and went.
As it turns out, the speaker (Kelly Deutsch), like me, is a life coach. While she was speaking about “Spiritual Wanderlust,” I was struck by how she took the language of coaching I have been learning and using in my coaching practice and used it to describe the spiritual life and how we ought to approach it.
I bought her book as a polite gesture
After Kelly finished speaking, she invited us to come up, meet her, and buy her book, Spiritual Wanderlust: The Field Guide to Deep Desire. I only wanted to exchange business cards with her and maybe start a dialogue with her about coaching stuff. However, everyone else in line to talk to her was buying her book. Not wanting to look like someone who was just there to grow his business (cards on the table: I kind of sort of was), I decided to buy her book just to be polite. God knew what he was doing by putting me in that situation.
The next day, I was set to pray, but I did not know what method of prayer I was going to employ. Thinking to myself, “Eh, why not?” I picked up her book and started reading. Now, I don’t get along with books. I have ADHD, and that makes reading an adventure. I will either forget I was reading a book and never pick it up again, or I will not be able to focus and give up because I just can’t.
However, I was inspired and wanted to explode with excitement that I found a book that explained the yearnings of my heart so accurately. Oh, and I had only read the forward and the introduction at this point. This book captured my attention, and I had to force myself to slow down. I knew it was a book to be slowly digested and not rushed through, but I wanted to hyperfocus. I landed somewhere in the middle and read some parts slowly and others quickly. I loved and hated it. The parts I loved put names to things I had been feeling and wondering about for quite some time. The parts I hated were those things you have an instant revulsion towards because you know it is what you needed to hear.
It “spoke” to me
One of the chapters of Spiritual Wanderlust is entitled “Existential Restlessness.” When I read that, I instantly knew I needed to read that chapter. Almost all of my life, I have felt out of place and not entirely sure what I need to make me feel comfortable. The “Who am I?” question haunts me.
I have never had an author capture what I knew I needed to explore but could not put into words and explain it to me. Deutsch has a keen insight into humanity and how we wander about life trying to find meaning and purpose. Even those of us who believe in God struggle with this.
The things I didn’t like were the things I probably needed to read anyways
Ever have one of those moments where you are given advice, and you immediately hate the advice but instantly recognize your hatred of it was due to how appropriate the advice was for you? That is what I felt every time I read something in Spiritual Wanderlust that I did not like. It was as if she knew exactly what flavor of bull crap I was feeding myself and decided to put something in her book specifically to call me out on it. Much to my pride’s chagrin, I was able to acknowledge her wisdom and admit my wrongness. Who knows? Maybe if I ever re-read the book, I will find more things in her book like that . . . but I am afraid to re-read it now.
Why I think you should read it
The key point of Spiritual Wanderlust is to explore desire, what it is, and what we are to do with it. We all desire. We all long for something. Even if we struggle to explain what it is, we all have a similar yearning. This desire is one of the main things that makes us human. My dogs do not get excited by exploring “Existential Restlessness,” but I do. And, I think you will be excited by it, too, if you read this book. Kelly Deutsch knows how to put her finger on the deepest parts of humanity.