Goal: To grow your Spiritual Core area, which includes (but is not limited to) your thoughts, feelings, behavior and experiences with God, Life, Spirituality, Morals, Values, Virtues and the cultivation and maintenance of Spiritual Empowerment.
The Importance of this Core Area: Your Spirituality is the lifeline of your existence. You’d be hard-pressed to experience a certain quality, richness, purpose, and maturity in life without this vital part of your garden providing constant and edifying nutrition to you and to others. Your Spirituality connects you to your Higher Power, who breathes life, insight, and inspiration into you, delivers counsel, discernment and discretion to you, and above all, provides you with empowerment to grow, season and mature your virtues and values. It’s your Spirituality that helps you to change, heal and grow during seasons of fruitfulness or seasons of devastating pain and brokenness. Finally, if given the opportunity, God wants to work in your Spirituality to grow His character (Hebrews 1:3) as evidenced by the Ten behavioral Descriptors of Agape Love (Luke 10:25 – 37), the Nine Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22 – 23) and to help you create a home environment that’s flourishing with wisdom to nurture, build up and to reasonably sustain all of the inhabitants therein (Matthew 7:25).
The Fruit and Wisdom in this Core Area: Behavioral change in this Core Area occurs with the consistent practice of your spiritual disciplines (Prayer, Silence, Study, Reflection, Worship, Meditation, Retreats, Simplicity, Service, Generosity, Fasting and Fellowship with Spiritual Guides, Mentors, Sponsors, Pastors or Therapists to name a few). The practice of these spiritual behaviors prepares, awakens and empowers your Cognitive (Mind/Thoughts) and Emotional Core Areas (especially the regulation of your Feelings/Mood) to think and act with insight, care and intentionality.
Contaminants in this Core Area: As with all of your Core Areas, your Spirituality deserves daily attention and action to ward off inactivity, stagnation or spiritual bankruptcy. In addition, your Spirituality deserves protection against toxic guilt or shame attacks against your soul, spirit and humanity. These contaminants could create internal or external environments of fear, debasement, depression and disempowerment, or, self-deception, self-centeredness, insensitivity or arrogance. It’s devaluing processes and behaviors like this which dehumanize this sacred part of who you are and could lead to what many describe as a “broken spirit.”
Suggested Activity: Begin reading the 52 entries in the Spiritual Core Areas, especially the two about “Hearing from God: Your Spiritual Disciplines.” Practice those disciplines which help you to hear from your Higher Power and affirm your right to nurture, love, cherish, listen to, protect and be edified by activities that grow this sacred and empowering part of who you are.
Here are the “G.A.S. up” questions for further deliberation about this Core Area:
1. Think about what goals you envision cultivating in your Spiritual Core Area, and why it’s important for you to develop and practice the behaviors connected to your goals. What are they?
2. Think about the activities you’d like to create, engage in and enjoy personally and/or with others which is a reflection of your growth. What activities come to mind?
3. Think about what skills you see yourself developing and how you see your life enriched due to the development and regular practice of the Spiritual behaviors in this Core Area. Who needs what fruit from you and how do you think the two of you will be mutually strengthened?
Skill to develop: Your ability to create a conscious and continuous connection with your God, which feeds, informs and inspires your personal growth and within reason, assists you in your ability to breathe life into and to strengthen the spirit of the neighbors who are in close proximity to you.
Thanks for reading this excerpt from Cultivating Love: Wisdom for Life. As time permits, please visit the other blogs written by Dr. Ken McGill: Daily Bread for Life and “3 – 2 – 5 – 4 – 24″ for additional information that could be helpful.
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