This was a very good question asked in a comment on the last post. As soon as I read it, I felt immediately compelled to answer it. Well, not exactly answer it, but analyze it because I've been asking myself the same question.
In the last month, my work toward peace, silence and stillness was an amazing eye-opening experience for me. It was at once difficult and wonderful. It was a journey into the depths of my self and my life (as it is) while holding the hand of God. I, to be honest, was surprised that this way of life was even an option for me as a mother at home with three children.
Slowly, however, my peace has been disturbed. Trying to center and listen to Jesus has become harder and harder. It's almost like trying to step on the head of my own shadow. Why, I wonder, can't I live in that state forever? Why is it so difficult to maintain?
First of all, I think I was given a gift; a grace to see and understand a little bit how God is so near to me and answering my every prayer. He hears every sigh and every plea for help. He smiles when I'm happy, cries with me when I'm sad and comforts me while I'm sick. But, He is always asking me to do more. He wants me to be more connected to Him and to do my duty unswervingly. To live my vocation and be the best possible me I can be (as I was created to be).
I think that God gives us these periods in our life that are graced with his presence. It's like He lifts a veil for a bit and the blind can see! In these times, I personally feel like I can do anything. I could practically walk on water or even fly. I get so full of zeal about the reality of heaven that everything else seems so useless and even boring. It's like being in love. Eventually, I must sink back into reality and it is in these times that my faith is tested and hopefully strengthened. It is also in these periods of spiritual dryness that the battle begins and temptation rears its ugly head.
However, even Jesus was tempted so I am not alone. We are all tempted. Its like passing the SAT to get into college. I had twelve years of quizzes and tests to prepare me for that one big examination of the knowledge I had attained. The temptations I experience now are the tests and quizzes preparing me for the day I see God face-to-face.
Temptation comes from three sources, all of which God allows us to be tempted by in order to strengthen us: the world, the flesh and the devil. I have learned in a very clear way this last month, how important it is to recognize those things that rob me of my peace. It may be the pull of "the world" that keeps me in front of the TV instead of taking that time to pray. It may be my "flesh" that urges me to eat one more helping of spaghetti and take up that much time that could have been spent rocking my child before bed. Or it could actually be the devil who desires to devour any kind of true peace and keep my riddled with anxiety, guilt and frenzy.
Whatever the temptation, it is clear to me now that God is always very near and I must continue to push back on those things that keep me from drawing ever closer to Him, the source of all life. Just like the flower garden in front of my house has to constantly be weeded so the flowers have room to bloom. I must weed out temptations so my soul can bloom again and again.