Spiritual Growth Is Your Highest Calling
Spiritual growth is your highest calling.
Many Christians (and other spiritually-inclined people) would agree with this. But it’s one thing to agree with, and another thing to practice.
Here are some signs that you believe the statement to be true but don’t live like it.
- You attend church functions (worship, Bible studies, etc.) because you believe it is a part of your duty to God, not because you desire to be transformed and changed
- You balk whenever someone mentions spiritual disciplines such as journaling or silent prayer because you know that these things can really open you up for change (but you resist that change, knowingly or unknowingly)
- You are friends with many people from your church but your friendship most often manifests in watching sports events together, talking about pop culture, or seeing each other only at church events, rather than serving others together or praying together
I don’t mention those things to call anyone out. I’ve often found myself in one (or more) of those categories.
But I’ve also found that the religious systems that we move in–church meetings, Bible study formats, prayer practices–often reduce our spiritual activity to an obligation rather than a soul-opening practice that brings out transformation.
Here are some reasons why we need to push past mere duty and obligation and set an intention to pursue spiritual growth as our highest calling in life.
You focus on your own self-care when you pay attention to spiritual growth.
In my twenty-plus years of pastoral work, I can’t tell you how many Christians I’ve had private conversations with who are completely burned out by their churches but are too afraid to say anything to those church leaders who maintain the systems of burnout.
Christians attend church two, three, and sometimes four times each week, try to keep up with daily Bible reading and prayer, and show up when asked to help serve at extra events. Yet, at these events, some well-meaning person will try to “encourage” the group by putting even more work on them:
- We need more help with the children’s ministry. Are you able to volunteer?
- Every Christian should read through their Bible every year.
- Don’t forget our Sunday night service. We really need as many here as possible so we can all be encouraged.
These statements are not shared to be manipulative, but they serve to manipulate conscientious church members into doing even more.
Focusing on your own spiritual growth, instead of propping up someone else’s system, is one way you can show self-care to yourself. And when you care for yourself, you truly begin to heal and transform.
You learn your “shadow side” when you pay attention to spiritual growth and can deal with it.
When you let go of the need to please everyone else, begin practicing self-care, and focus on your spiritual growth, you will learn things about yourself that you have suppressed. These may not be big things, but you will begin to peel back the layers of your “shadow side.”
One problem this will create for you is that you will find your church community to be so busy and focused on the management of the church that you will not find many conversation partners to journey with as you go about these changes.
Look for church members on the “fringe,” those that don’t seem to be involved, and get to know them. You’ll often find depth in these relationships, as these church members are encountering the same things and the same challenges.
You become “whole” when you pay attention to spiritual growth and walk in the process.
You provide space for God to work in your life and transform you when you pay attention to spiritual growth. God will use this space to transform you. God will heal your “shadow side,” teach you that you are beloved, and affirm you in your true self.
We only have to let God in and God will make us whole.
But this requires us to pay attention to our spiritual growth. It’s unfortunate that it might mean being less involved with our churches, but keeping the system going isn’t what God calls us to, anyway.
Resist the temptation that comes from others to “pull your weight” and focus on self-care and spiritual growth. Go back through my writing at Daily Discipleship and find a self-care practice that you connect with and begin doing it.
Trust the process. Give yourself to it. Learn what God (and yourself) is telling you, and be transformed.
Become whole, and be healed.
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When you’re in over your head and ready to make changes and seek grounding, reach out to me at Jeremy Hoover Coaching and let’s have a conversation.