One of my mother’s favorite sayings, and one I’ll never forget, is related to daily life and growth:
If you’re not stretching and growing, you’re DYING!
Physical growth may be harder to measure on a day-to-day basis, but ask any young person who has experienced “growing pains” if they differ from day to day. Spiritual growth can be easier to quantify IF you’re prepared to look for it and work for it.
Preparing yourself for spiritual growth is no different than preparing for other kinds of growth: in order for a plant to grow, you need specific things:
- The right environment (light, temperature)
- The right sustenance/food
- The will/attitude to grow
The Right Environment
For human beings, the right environment for spiritual growth means that you’re ready to shine a light on your current situation and make changes to ensure that all the dark places are illuminated and you can clearly see what’s going on.
Consider this affirmation: I am devoted to my spiritual growth.
Being devoted to your spiritual growth means you’re ready to go above and beyond your normal activities in order to accomplish it. Your spiritual growth should matter to you because it’s your fountain of strength for life. When you are strong in spirit, setbacks don’t hold you back – in fact, they can spur you on to greater achievements!
As you grow spiritually, you become more capable of handling life’s challenges with a winning attitude, and you’re ready to keep moving forward instead of staying stuck in difficulties.
When you spend time each day reflecting on your values and becoming more knowledgeable about your beliefs, you build the strength you need to hold fast to your values in a world that doesn’t always respect them. You should give careful thought to the truths that you live by and question yourself about the reasons behind your convictions to ensure that they are truly your own.
When we’re young, we are likely influenced in our spiritual path and derive some of our spiritual strength from practices and information given to us by our parents and/or caregivers. As we mature, we start to think more critically and request more information and details about what we believe in, and that can cause a change in our principles and beliefs.
There’s nothing wrong with this process – in fact, getting the details about your preferred spiritual path can deepen your understanding and your commitment. After all, life is an event of limited duration – no one lives forever – and who wants to waste time living a spiritually inauthentic or uncomfortable and unfulfilling life?
The Right Sustenance/Food
Just as living things must be nourished in order to grow, your spirit needs to be fed regularly. You can nourish your spirit by reflecting, meditating, or praying regularly – whatever suits your spiritual path – and reading enlightening and educational literature.
The consistency of your spiritual practice, whether it involves prayer, meditation, dance, other types of movement, singing, composing music, or activities that feed your spirit, is important to cultivating depth and stability. In fact, a strong spiritual practice helps to generate stability in all areas of life.
You can cultivate spiritual growth through meditation and contemplation – there are many resources available to assist you, and you can start your practice at any time.
Your Will/Attitude to Grow
Plants have it baked into their DNA to grow, and the same could be said about human beings. Our physical growth is definitely pre-ordained – as long as we receive good nutrition and are physically able to move around, we will grow. Not everyone grows at the same pace, but generally speaking, we perfectly imperfect human beings are “wired for growth.”
Our spiritual growth, however, is different. We have to make a conscious decision to focus on and be open to spiritual growth. We look for teachers and examples to help us divine a path forward, use books and sacred texts to help us understand new concepts (and some truly old ones), and we commit to regular practice to strengthen our new skills over time.
We can intentionally devote time to personal reflection so we can align our actions with our beliefs. I am blessed to have a separate room in my house I call my Sanctuary where I go on a regular basis to find balance, relieve stress, recenter and find my path forward in the midst of solitude.
My Sanctuary may not always be quiet – in fact, sometimes I love to turn up the music and dance in my sacred space or sing along with favorite songs or melodies. I have beloved objects that remind me of my family’s elders there, and being around those objects helps me to recall the wisdom, love, and voices of my elders.
I intentionally turn off the world and focus on my soul in order to connect with those who have gone before me, and with the energy that’s all around me. I focus on becoming the person I want to be – from the inside out – and I allow myself the blessing of time to get that process right.
I place enormous emphasis on the inner person because that is who we perfectly imperfect human beings really and truly are. Our outward actions are only reflections of what lies beneath – we cannot be kind and generous people unless those qualities are present in our hearts, our minds, and our spirits. We must be on the outside as we are on the inside.
Today, I want to exhort you – to strongly encourage you – to choose to set aside time for prayer, reflection, meditation, or another practice that encourages and supports your personal spiritual growth.
You should value your spiritual development as the foundation of who you are as a person, and who you can become. A physically perfect human being with a sick spirit is an incomplete person suffering from “arrested development” who will not be able to reach their personal potential without making intentional changes.
By taking care of your spirit, you can help to ensure positive growth for all other areas of your life – and that’s well worth working for!
- How much time do I spend daily in prayer, reflection, or meditation?
- How is my spiritual growth tied to other areas of my life?
- What time of the day could I set aside for reflection?