We all grow naturally. Without much effort, we see bones develop from infant stages into adult hood, from soft pliable material to hard matter. We see muscles grow and we feel ourselves getting stronger with time. All of this occurs naturally, as we eat, work, and play. But what does it take for us to grow spiritually? Spiritual growth requires a conscious effort of introspection and analysis.
If we want to grow spiritually, we need to be by turning our thoughts in instead of out. Instead of focusing on what is around us, we need to examine our hearts. Why do we do what we do? Why do we hang out with the people that we hang out with? What are our good traits and how did we attain them? What are our bad traits, and how can we get rid of them?
Introspection teaches us to consider how we act and it motivates us to change how we behave on a daily and moment by moment basis. But introspection requires great courage. Many people never look inward because they fear that they won't like what they see, and ultimately they don't want to change what they see.
When you grow spiritually, you take hold of the potentials you've been given. You consider what you can do, and you grow even more by reaching beyond what you think you can do and thus developing more potential.
Science and religion have been at odds for decades now when examining the human spirit. For example, religion sees human beings as just spiritual beings that move on this planet momentarily, and science sees the spirit as just a part of the whole individual. People grow spiritually when the recognize what they must do enhance growth: their beliefs, morality, experience, and good works form the foundation for spiritual growth. Ironically, the psychologist James Maslow theorized that if a person can meet his physical needs, he can meet his spiritual needs as well.
Ultimately, when we seek to grow spiritually, we seek meaning in our lives. And that's where faith comes in. Religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam teach that their followers will find meaning through serving a higher being, a Creator. And psychologists theorize that we find meaning through ourselves, that we determine if we have meaning in our lives. But ultimately, finding meaning means realizing that we live on this earth for a purpose, and once we realize that, we put all of our desires and actions into focus with that purpose: we live for that purpose.
Finally, growing spiritually means understanding our connection with the world around us. Doing so will lead to a greater respect of the things and people around us. And whether we find that connection through faith or psychology, ultimately we grow spiritually because of that connection.
Raising kids in the twenty first century challenges parents more than ever. Culture calls out to kids, wanting to form them, while many parents want their kids to grow up with a biblical background and faith-based set of values. So how can a parent ride against the tide of culture to raise strong kids with strong faith? Church attendance certainly makes a different, but parents need to be parents, and they need to use the resources that we have available today.
Consult your local Christian book store, or even the Christian section of a secular book store. You will be amazed at the resources out there that can give you the answers you need to help raising your children.
Both parents should seek out additional resources. Many times just the matriarch of the family seeks out the books with how-to information while the patriarch just trusts her child raising instincts. Both parents should actively parent, not just one. Studies show that children need both parents. Girls need their dads to help form a healthy view of men, and boys need their moms to help form a healthy view of women. So if you want to infuse your faith into your parent, pick up a Christian parenting book.
The teen years challenge parents. Many find themselves more frustrated with their teenagers than they ever were with the coloring on the wall toddlers that graced their homes. But parents should realize that teenagers are not a different breed of creature. They are young adults, crying out for direction on how to be an adult. Thus a teen focused Christian parenting book can give parents the direction they need on how to help their teen act like an adult and make the right decisions.
Smaller children can also benefit from such instruction. While these children challenge their parents, parents can find help in Christian parenting books with age specific advice. Books ranging in topics from godly discipline to teaching your kids manners abound in the Christian section of your local book store. And you'll be amazed at what a difference just a few parenting changes will make in the demeanor of your child.
Sure parents need to take their kids to church. They need to take themselves to church, and they need to seek out the advice of other Christian parents. But Christian parenting books offer them one more resource for raising kids that seek to glorify God and follow the principles laid out in the Bible. In the end, books by great authors like Dr. Dobson and Kevin Leiman can make all the difference in the life of a child and in the family as a whole. So what are you waiting for? Start reading.
Every person on the planet is undergoing their own set of obstacles and burdens at any given moment. And those obstacles can cause different reactions; hard-heartedness, regret, guilt, anger and anything you could possibly imagine.
How we handle those obstacles is the real test of our faith. While some respond with rash emotions, some use these as an opportunity to exercise their faith and overcome those obstacles through dedication and hard work, so that they in turn, can make them better people.
Faith is the most important component when it comes to overcoming these obstacles. As spiritual movies have taught us, faith can move mountains and inspire real change in those we don't expect it to. Using that faith, we can know that obstacles are put in place for a reason, and that through faith, they can be worked through and eventually overcome. The continual hope that things will work out in the end is the first step to overcoming those obstacles.
Trust is another component that you need in order to overcome these harsh obstacles that come up time to time. That trust can help us to know that the burdens we carry are not a permanent condition. Instead, if we work hard enough to overcome the obstacles, we may be surprised to learn later on that those obstacles were for our own good.
In fact, we should trust that when these problems first arise, that they are in place to teach us something new and perhaps even shape us to be better people in general. The trust that all things are for are good can help us to overcome those burdens and obstacles quickly and with purpose, knowing that there is something that can be learned from them.
Using the tools of faith and trust to overcome obstacles is a real solution to getting over these small roadblocks, so that we can get over them faster and use them to our advantages. Too often individuals are quick to condemn God or use anger and blame as coping mechanisms for these burdens, and unfortunately it just leaves them feeling empty and ignored.
Reading scriptures, going to church, watching spiritual movies and talking to church clergy can help us to learn that faith and trust are the only ways to deal with the sadness and anger that come with obstacles in our lives. Keep in mind that those obstacles are not problems, but rather stepping stones towards the kind of person we are striving to be.