Spiritual Growth

it’s all about finding center and rhythm – really!

In the winter of 2016, through a TD Jakes series of messages the Lord gave Robert and I our mission statement and told us that we needed to be fully practical AND fully spiritual.  Here is our mission statement:

To live a long, healthy and prosperous life.

To have intimacy with God and grow daily in wisdom.

To accomplish through Christ, the appointed purposes and dreams God has planned to fulfill through us.

To live an uncomplicated, uncluttered life at God’s pace, in God’s will, fully trusting in His timing.

This is our heart’s desire!  And this mission statement addresses us body, soul and spirit!  It is both fully practical and fully spiritual.

Now, living out this mission statement is where the rubber meets the road.  As you may or may not know, I am prone to anxiety.  The rise of anxiety informs me of whether I am living in balance – fully practical and fully spiritual. So, the question, the area I’m working on is how to stay balanced and in rhythm with God.  That’s really the key isn’t it?  How to find my “center” and live out from that “center”. It starts with knowing that you must live from a “center” and then determining what/where/who is with you in that “center”.  For me, it’s me and God (really the entire trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Without center rhythm can not flow.  Think about that – wherever rhythm is needed it must flow from a center..musicians know this, singers know this, drummers know this, dancers know this, all athletes know this…if you’ve every experienced a “sweet” moment on any level it was rhythm.  My head gets it.  My heart gets it.  But really, how to STAY there and live FROM there…..consistently.  Let me reiterate CONSISTENTLY!!

As I reflect and talk with the Lord about this, He reminded me of these three things that address body, soul and spirit.

  1. PHYSICAL Of all the swim practices and open water practices I did in 8 years as a triathlete, there is one swim that I remember most of all.  It was a “breakthrough” swim. During this swim, my body was beautifully balanced in the water, my breathing and stroke were in a rich and perfectly timed rhythm. Because of this balance (I was centered) and rhythm I was able to swim at a pretty fast pace for quite a long time (over 90 minutes if I remember right). It took me years of swimming to get this breakthrough..but, once I had it..I could duplicate it.  And from this swim on…my swimming kept improving to a place of speed and endurance that I hadn’t ever thought I’d acquire.
  2. MENTAL – Stephen Covey in his incredible book called 7 habits of highly effective people puts our daily life into 4 quadrants.  The most powerful quadrant to spend your time in is 2 – which is the non-urgent but very important  (planning, reflecting, assessing and then adjusting accordingly). This is hard to do because we often spend our time in quadrant 3 which is urgent and unimportant (think daily tasks). But the Q2 time drives all the other time in the right direction.  Otherwise, we are ebb and flow instead of making forward progress.
  3. SPIRITUAL – As believers in Jesus we know He is present with us all the time and we’ve been given the power and brilliance of the Holy Spirit.  God calls us into deep and intimate relationship with him.  However, we often don’t spend time with Him getting to know Him.  Or we spend our time learning about Him instead of getting to know Him, personally.  – two very different things.

What do all three of these have in common?  An investment of TIME, focus, learning, reflecting and doing and then waiting for it to all “click”.   #3 drives #1 and #2 right?  God created me, God has plans for me, God has put dreams and desires in my heart that He wants to see fulfilled.  So, I start at #3 – that’s the “center” that precedes everything else.  And when I start in the place I get everything I need for #2 and #1.  How do I know this?  Well, the Word….read on…

Here is my paraphrase of 2 Peter 1: 2-3 (you can find the actual scripture here https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Peter+1%3A+2-3&version=NET

Because God is glorious and excellent, He called me to become His child through faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

And because I answered His call with YES, God has BESTOWED on me EVERYTHING NECESSARY that I will ever need for LIFE (fully practical) and GODLINESS (fully spiritual).

Therefore AS (this is a process) I grow in the rich knowledge (rich=intimacy, knowledge= know His ways) of God and Jesus, God will CONTINUALLY LAVISH upon me His GRACE and PEACE.

So….

to live physically, mentally and spiritually (body, soul and spirit) from a center that flows out into a rhythm of life, it STARTS by finding CENTER.  Center is the relationship with God.  Talking with Him and being with Him so He can tell you who you are and what He created you to do on this earth during this lifetime.  From this center and the relationship a rhythm develops – slowly, over time, with consistent dedication to KNOWING HIM not merely knowing about Him.  And out of this rhythm with Him, you will flow in every area of your life. This is the equivalent of many, many swim practices with only minor outward signs of a great swimmer being developed!  This is the Ultimate quadrant 2 and from this intimacy and time with God all the other aspects of life that we need direction for, encouragement for and wisdom for will flow.  We start with God.  Period. He will reveal and tell us everything we need to know.  He will saturate us with His strength and He will fill us with His Peace, Joy, Love and Power.  From this…center we will find the rhythm of our life. Anything else is merely “poor form” resulting in imbalance and having to try much harder than we need to if we’d just worked on center and rhythm first.

I’m learning that when life pulls, pushes and shoves me…STOP…return to center with God, get some love, get some encouragement, get redirected, get peace, get perspective, get security and safety…get EVERYTHING I need for life and godliness….then move forward in rhythm with Him into all that life is bringing me.

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