“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14 (NIV)
I was talking with a friend the other day about the growth I’d experienced in my spiritual life over the past year. Some concepts introduced within the last few months, coupled with ideas I’d known about for years, finally came together and I “got it.” Some areas took a little practice before I got comfortable and saw my faith grow, such as thanking God ahead of time for answers I hadn’t seen yet but were promises for His children from the Bible. Other topics, like asking God a question and then sitting silently for the answer, were a little easier to put into place and were a fun way for me to grow my relationship with Him. The blessings journal, something I’d been encouraged to try years ago but finally wrote in on a regular basis brought about extra blessings as I could tangibly see how God was answering prayers, providing for our family, and taking care of our physical needs as well as blessing us with “extras.”
However, one thing my friend and I discussed was that the growth that I seemed to experience in twelve short months really took much longer. Concepts, truths, and Biblical principles I’d learned about beginning in childhood were built upon in order to get me to the place where I could understand, grasp, and deepen my faith muscles, prayer time, and relationship with my Father.
Another wonderful thing we discovered is that we’re both on the same path but in different places depending upon the topic. God gave me the word “grace” this year but gave her a different word to work on. We both shuffle back and forth with balance, moderation, obedience, and faith. Being on different levels than each other for spiritual truths is exciting and, in my opinion, part of God’s plan so we can continue to help each other along the way. She introduced me to a specific concept and then it sat. God then took that seed she planted, and watered it through my church family in the way of sermons and small groups. Then I was able to go back to her, ask more in-depth questions, and practice until finally that small seed sprouted into a harvest in my life. Now, I am prepared while I practice the new concept in my life to help plant the seed in someone else’s life so they in turn can reap a harvest.
If we were all on the same level in our spiritual journey, how could we help each other? Is it fair for me to judge someone who is on a different level than myself when I have areas I struggle with as well? God meant for us to help each other. His example was to show compassion and love while leading His people in the right direction. I want to follow His example.
I’m glad I had a chance to reflect on my spiritual journey over the past year. Yes, I’ve grown a lot but I still have so much to learn. I choose to encourage those God allows me to cross paths with, not hurrying them along or trying to slow them down. We all have our own pace that is perfect in God’s eyes. My job isn’t to judge – my job is to encourage and love. God is in charge of the timing – and His timing is always right.
© Cheri Swalwell 2014