Spiritual Growth FAQ — 3 Critical Spiritual Growth Questions Every Spiritually Ambitious Christian Should Know The Answers To

One of the most memorable conversations that I have enjoyed in the context of Spiritual Direction occurred with a woman at the end of a group retreat. She admitted that she was hesitant to join at first, fearing that she would be pushed way outside of her comfort zone.

But as she participated in the exercises and conversations during the retreat, she found herself refreshed and encouraged. She described her experience this way:

“I felt like I was hearing and speaking a familiar language that I had never heard before.”

She found a familiar resonance with the language of contemplative spirituality.

Maybe you have thought about exploring spiritual growth, but have some questions that you need answered first.

Here are three critical spiritual growth questions (and answers.)

Question #1: Will I have to do a bunch of stuff that makes me uncomfortable?

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This question of “Will I have to do a bunch of stuff that makes me uncomfortable?” is important because none of us willingly do things that make us feel uncomfortable or incompetent. Why would we?

The answer to the question “will I have to do a bunch of stuff that makes me uncomfortable” is simple. — the answer is NO.

All of the historical spiritual growth practices are familiar ones — prayer, silence, listening, journaling, conversation, listening etc. A trained spiritual director will walk with you through these practices in a way and at a pace that is comfortable and encouraging.

Question #2: Is it OK for me to be ambitious and to want more from my relationship with God.

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This question of “Is it OK for me to be ambitious and to want more from my relationship with God.” is important because we can easily feel like we receiving mixed messages regarding spiritual ambition.

On one hand we are encouraged to pursue God. But on the other hand, we can be made to feel as though we are stepping out of line when we take responsibility for our own spiritual growth. These messages can be subtle. Eyebrows are raised when we talk about attending a retreat, or working with a spiritual director.

The answer to the question “Is it OK for me to be ambitious and to want more from my relationship with God?” is YES!

Saying yes to spiritual ambition and working with a spiritual director is one of the oldest and most respected practices of the church.

Spiritual direction is a contact whereby someone accepts someone else as a guide on (a part of) their spiritual way. Someone seeks and accepts someone else as a guide on their own spiritual way and entrusts himself to his guiding authority. A sort of archetypal spiritual direction in the Christian tradition was practiced by the Desert Fathers (between 300 -600 AD).

Gideon van Dam, Dutch Protestant Church, Netherlands

Question #3: Will my church frown on what I want?

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This question of “Will my church frown on what I want?” is important because none of us want to feel like we are stepping outside of “the norm” or doing anything that will make us stand out. While most churches are fantastically supportive of pursuing spiritual growth, there are some traditions that frown on anything outside of their specific practice and process.

This post is being published on the last Monday of the calendar year. This is a time of year that naturally brings thoughts of renewal and recalibration. It’s a time when we ask ourselves what we will do in the next year that will help us the most.

In light of these thoughts, the answer to the question “Will my church frown on what I want?” is NO.

Unless you are part a very rule based, legalistic tradition, your church can only benefit from your pursuit of spiritual growth. What church wouldn’t want more members who are:

  • Experiencing a more quieted and focused soul.
  • Feeling a greater degree of self awareness.
  • Learning how to tend well to their own hearts (and the hearts of others.)

Now that you’ve got the answers to these 3 Critical Spiritual Growth questions, I’d like to invite you to further discover how Spiritual Direction might help YOU!

Did you find this article useful? Thanks!