“You decide how your soul grows.”
It was Mother’s Day and I was at the spa. While sitting in the lounge room overlooking the ocean I was overcome with sadness. I was unhappy in so many ways and I had spent the last year focusing on that unhappiness.
I had completely changed my life. I gave up the lifestyle that had destroyed so many parts of me. I became a mother. I chose one man to share myself with. I settled down. I went back to church. I had done everything that I could possibly think of to make things right. Yet sadness still managed to permeate through all of that.
And as I sat in solitude it hit me. I had been putting my energy into all the wrong things. I spent my days trying to avoid the obvious and my nights reliving the pain and regrets that I harbored in my soul. All of my mental energy was used up focusing on how to rebuild my life and none was spent rebuilding my spirit.
See, your life and your spirit are two very different things and if you don’t realize it you can waste a whole lot of time trying to have a fruitful life whist allowing your spirit to perish. And that is what I had done. I was so focused on creating a good life, a life that was socially acceptable and pleasing to those I loved and I had completely neglected to nourish my spirit.
In my quest to regain all the things that I thought I had lost I sacrificed the most important of them: my identity, my dignity and my spirituality.
To an outsider it appeared that my life was progressing but if I allowed you to get close enough you would find that my spirit told a completely different story.
Believe it or not it is possible to have everything you ever wanted and still be spiritually broken. I had acquired all the things I set out to get. I regularly attended church, volunteered for various community service initiatives and had regained the trust and respect of my family and friends. I had written a book. Started my blog and began mentoring other women. These were all the things that I set out to do when I decided to change my life. And with efficiency and swiftness I had accomplished my goals.
But unfortunately, I had set all the wrong ones. My goals were all rooted in outward appearances and in complete honesty I never planned on changing my spirit. I never even gave it a thought. I was consumed with the physical, the material and the superficial. Nowhere in my plans was there space for a spiritual overhaul.
But on that afternoon as I sat and cried in the serenity of the spa I learned that everything I had done, everything I had achieved would be in vain if I didn’t get my spirit right.
There is a phrase from the bible that I have heard repeated over and over again throughout the years. “What does it profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul?” Ironically this phrase can be found in three different places in the New Testament. Matthew 16:26, Mark 8:36 and Luke 9:25. Clearly it is important.
And it is. Our soul and our spirit are the most important things in this life and they are the only things that we can take with us onto the next one. In fact, they are the very things that will determine where we will spend eternity. Forgive me, I’m not trying to get all “fire and brimstone” on you…but let’s be honest about this. Your job, your family, your house, your car and your bank account will be of NO significance on judgement day. And whether you want to accept it or not…judgement day WILL come…and you and I and the rest of this world will be held accountable for the state of our souls.
This is the reality that hit me on that day. My life had progressed so much but when it came to my spirit, I was still hurt, bitter, resentful and broken. And all of those things would destroy all of the progress I had made if I didn’t get rid of them.
So I decided in that moment, to spend some time getting my spirit right. The first thing that I had to do was get rid of the spiritual blockage that I had created between myself and God. I needed to reconnect with Him. I had been going to church and doing all the “things” that a good Christian should do, but I had lost a sincere connection with God. I wasn’t taking time out to pray or meditate. I wasn’t seeking God’s will for my life. I was just going through the motions.
So I made a conscious decision to seek God in an unconventional way. All my life I had been taught that in order to find God I had to go to church. And I had been going to church for my entire life, yet wasn’t sure if I had ever really found Him. Despite my Christian upbringing, I found myself in a situation that lacked a genuine relationship with the God I thought I knew. So I began to look at this whole idea of God and who He is and what He means to me.
The Church is an amazing place to be. But a relationship with God is developed outside those walls. This is a very personal journey, the most personal journey one will ever take. It is the most important thing a person can do. It has no rules or guidelines and requires no other influences. It’s just you and God.
And my journey with God since that day has been amazing. I’ve learned so much about who He is and how He loves me. I’ve accepted His unconditional love and in turn been able to love myself unconditionally.
Finding God and realizing how much He loves me has been an integral part of knowing and loving myself. It is indeed the essence of life.
The more I fall in love with God, the more I want to live within His divine will for my life. I want to fulfill the purpose He created me for, I want to be and have all that He desires for me. But in order to do this I’ve had to learn how to abandon my own will and embody His instead.
And trust me it hasn’t been an easy thing to do. I struggle with it daily. I fail daily. I recommit daily. I have had to go against some of the fundamental parts of my sinful nature in order to embody His character instead. I’ve had to let go of my selfish, controlling and judgmental ways and try to adopt His selflessness, His compassion and His love. It is a tall task, but in surrendering to His will every single day I draw closer to Him and my spirit remains aligned with His.
It’s been eight months since I committed myself to this spiritual journey. Over these eight months my life has changed dramatically. And while there may be little outward signs of change, my spirit is completely different. I’ve found the strength to make some decisions that were long overdue and the courage to live in the purpose that God gave to me. After years of self-inflicted misery, I’ve found peace and serenity in Him. I’ve found joy in a loving God that has promised to never leave me.
Life gives us many demands. Society dictates to us that our lives will have meaning once we accomplish something, acquire something and achieve something. But that is a lie. Our lives have meaning when we are spiritually aligned with our Creator. When we are in tune with our purpose and have the ability to carry it out.
I was once so focused on gaining the world. I was so dedicated to building a certain kind of life. But while I chased society’s standards of happiness, I moved further and further away from my purpose. My spirit was dying and my soul was lost.
What does it profit you to gain the world and lose your soul? Absolutely nothing! Don’t spend your life chasing worldly ideals of happiness at the expense of your spirit and your soul. The state of your spirit will be the mitigating factor of your success and happiness. It is the most important thing that you own. I choose to nurture it, to invest in it and to love it. It is my greatest asset and most precious gift to this world.
What will you do for your spirit?
Be strong…be courageous…be GREAT!