I thought it might be a good idea to record my spiritual journey or my spiritual growth so far this year. I have mentioned my spiritual growth in my Resolution Update posts, but I have yet to devote an entire post to it.
I decided at the beginning of this year that I would make a more concerted effort to develop a closer relationship with God. As ashamed as I am to admit this, I really feel like I was a "Sunday Morning" Christian up until this year. It was enough for me to go to church on Sunday morning and leave my Christianity at the door on the way out. I'm not saying I didn't feel like a Christian during the week, it was just that I was not actually doing anything to grow spiritually. I wasn't praying much and I definitely was not making time for having any type of devotions.
In January, I decided to make a concerted effort to grow spiritually. In church one morning, our Pastor reminded us that in order to draw close to God we had to first draw close to Him. For whatever reason, this Sunday morning I got the message. I have heard that same message a million times before, but on this particular Sunday my heart was open enough to get the message loud and clear.
I started in January just getting up a little earlier, making some coffee, and reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Each morning I read the selection for the day and then I prayed. My goal was just to get closer to God each and every day. I wasn't really sure what would happen and I didn't even know how I would feel closer to God.
What started to happen for me is that I started to have things put on my heart. Somewhere in those first few months I started to think about things in a different way. I felt like God was putting certain desires in my heart. Specifically, I have felt like God placed a desire in my heart to get healthy. I went on Weight Watchers to lose some weight in March, and at the time, I really felt like I was being prompted by God to make this change. I was also reading Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst which helped me make the connection between weight loss and spiritual growth. While walking through Target one day in early April, I felt a desire in my heart to run a Mini-Marathon. After doing some rough calculating, I realized that if I started training that very week, it would be possible for me to run the Mini in September. I really feel like God placed that desire within me. I didn't have Run a Mini-Marathon on any kind of bucket list, and I honestly can only attribute a desire like that to a God above. I don't know why God chose this exercise/weight loss area to work with me on first. I have plenty of flaws He could have chosen from and He chose this one. Regardless of the reason, I'm glad these desires were placed within me. I am a billion times happier than I was when I started Weight Watchers back in March and I am about 14lbs lighter.
The second area I feel like God has been dealing with me about is prayer. When I started this journey in January, I felt like I was terrible at praying. My prayers felt very forced and unnatural. Also, I was afraid to ask God for things because I already had so much. I was learning just how much I had by reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I felt like God was telling me just to talk to Him. I started by just thanking Him for all my blessings. I made some progress with prayer, but it was slow going. I just finished The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. While I was reading this book, my prayer life really stepped up a few notches. I learned that I could pray boldly and with intention. I started "praying circles" around things in my life that needed to change (like Frank's job). I started standing firm on the promises God placed in the Bible and I stopped being so timid in my prayers. I am still working on this area, but I am definitly growing.
Lately, I feel like God has placed a desire in my heart to eat more nutritiously. More than that though, I feel like I am supposed to help other people be healthier. I am really not sure how that is going to manifest itself in my life at this point. I am no personal trainer, and I am definitely not going to call people on the phone and tell them to eat better or go on any kind of diet. All I know I can do is tell people how good I feel about making changes in my weight and in my life, and hope that someone, somewhere down the line is inspired by my story. As funny as this sounds, I really do believe that Zija is a method in which I can help people live healthier. I am not sure how all of this fits together, but I really do feel like I am on the right path.
If I had to describe my spiritual journey this year I would say that God is guiding me gently to make changes in my life. He does this by putting a desire in my heart where there was not one before. As I continue to respond to these desires my life improves. Every time I say "Yes" to something I feel like I am supposed to do, I feel like I am one step closer to becoming who God intended me to be. This is a journey and I have by no means arrived at any kind of destination, but I am definitely growing. I always thought it would be hard to get closer to God. I think I always thought He was so far away from me. The funny thing is, He has been here all along, all I had to do was make time for Him.