Spiritual training: pick one thing.

Yesterday I gave an overview of one way to plan spiritual training. Let’s walk through it more slowly.

The first question was, What does God want me to develop?

I phrase it this way to allow for conversation between us and God. When talking about setting spiritual goals or training, I had some people push back and say, “I can’t just decide what will make God happy, can I?” So what if we make our spiritual goals start with interaction with God? But not necessarily in a spooky way. I think there are some questions we can start with in the discernment process.

Spend a few minutes with these questions:

  • What kind of people am I drawn to as examples?
  • What do I know will happen in 2015, and what do I need to prepare? (There will be things we don’t expect. But we know weird uncle Hal will say that same stupid thing at Thanksgiving next year. How can we prepare to respond differently next year? We know that we’ll need to plan to rest. We know that hospitality opportunities will exist.)
  • Where do I feel like I “always” fail?
  • When I read a list of characteristics from 2 Peter 1, or Colossians 3, what jumps out as something that I wish were true of me?
  • Where in the way I follow the Great Commandment could I grow? (That’s the “love God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor” list.)
  • Where in helping the “least of these” list in Matthew 25 could I grow? (Sick, in prison, naked, hungry, thirsty.)

Too often, we want to change everything. But pick one thing, one characteristic to grow, one capacity to develop. And then we can move to the next question. Seriously. Pick one.

Me? I’m thinking about wholeheartedness and community.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

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