Taking Stock, Spiritual Growth, Where am I at, How am I spending my days

Taking Stock – Spiritual Growth

Before you start any journey, it’s key to know where you are.  It would be hard to travel from London to Paris, if you didn’t know that you were in London!  You might head west, instead of east – and then where would you end up?  

The same might be said for our journey in spiritual growth – there are moments when we need to sit and take stock of where we are at.  To take a look into the past – where we’ve been, how far we have come, where we were at and where we intended to go.   

Whether you admit it or not, how you spend each day is how you spend your life.  Today is just a reflection of how you are “lifing”.  How are you doing life?

taking stock, spiritual growth, time, life, How you spend each day is actually how you are spending your life
How you spend each day, is actually how you are spending your life.

Where are you truly at in the big scheme of life? 

Today’s a good day to take an inventory of your spiritual growth – where are you spending your spiritual energy?  Where are you investing your time?  

If you are a spiritual being having a human experience – believing in eternal life – how many hours of each day are you aware of your spiritual existence? Or is that something you reserve for Sundays and prayer meetings? Is “spiritual” just something that you do for 20 minutes each morning? 

Or does your spiritual existence spill over into how you do: 

  • work & career 
  • relationships – family, friends & acquaintances 
  • home & leisure 
  • health & well-being 
  • mental & emotional wellness 
  • finances, business & investments
  • contributing, volunteering, giving back & building a legacy  

Investing your time 

Take a moment and invest some time writing in your journal or ruminating  about your current spiritual state of being:  

  • What are you thinking about?  
    • What are you most common, day-to-day thoughts about your life? Are you thinking on these things: “whatever is true, … honorable,
      …  just, …  pure, …  lovely, … commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Phil. 4:8)
    • What are your thoughts really focused on? Are they focused on your problems – constantly begging God to save you – because your problems are so big? Or are your thoughts focused on the greatness of God & the abundance of love & substance that are yours as a child of God?  
    • Are your thoughts creative & forward-moving – embracing your creative abilities as a co-creator with God?  Or are you stuck watching old movies – replaying events & situations over in your head?  
    • How useful are these thought patterns to you really? Are they feeding & nurturing your spiritual growth?  
    • What fruits are these thoughts producing for you?  
  • What are you feeling – what are your most common emotions? How are you responding & reacting to life happening around you?  
    • How do you feel when you wake up each morning? 
    • Do you give thanks with a grateful heart? 
    • How are your thoughts influencing the way that you feel?  
    • What is your “go to” emotional response when something doesn’t go your way?  
    • Your emotions are a gauge of where you are at right now – they are not guides, meant to lead you!  It’s a “reporting back to you” that this is how we’re doing today.  And so, the pattern of your emotions will allow you to gauge where your hope is truly placed.  Where you are actually anchored.  
    • Whether you like it or not, your emotions will show you where you might be stuck!   
  • You might also take this time to take stock of your talents & abilities:  
    • What are you good at? And possibly more importantly – how are you utilizing your talents & abilities?  
    • Which talents do you have that are gathering dust on the shelf?  
    • What are the skills that come to your rescue when you are tired & burnt out – that you can always count upon?  
    • And how are you using these talents throughout all aspects of your life – not simply your job & work environment? 

The actual stock-take 

Your current spiritual practices 

Give yourself some time to consider the following questions:  

  • What are your current day-to-day spiritual practices? 
  • What is your morning practice?
    • How long are you able to spend each morning in prayer, silence & meditation?  
  • What is your evening practice? 
    • Do you spend any time in gratitude & thanksgiving?  
  • At what other times during the day do you take time to pause and Be still?  
  • Where do you feel most peaceful & content?  
  • Does the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, rule your heart & mind – throughout all moments of each day – or are there some places & situations in which you fail to connect with the power that is yours for life? Are you compartmentalizing your life?    
  • What does your current spiritual well-being look like overall?  

Your work & career 

Is there any place in your life professionally where you acknowledge that you are a spiritual being, and not simply a person that is working and doing a job?

  • Are you demonstrating love, joy & peace within the work environment – or is that something you simply strive to show at Church? 
  • Does the way that you treat your co-workers reflect patience, kindness, & goodness?  
  • Professionally, would others describe you as someone that is faithful, humble & that exhibits self-control?  

When you have a look at yourself in the work environment – what qualities & words would you use to describe your behaviour & way of being?  

Relationships – friends, family & co-workers 

Would those who know you best say that you love your neighbour as yourself

taking stock, characteristics, Christian, loving, forgiving, giving, humble, passionate, driven,. patient, kind, self-control, self control, peaceful, joyful, free, right thinking, growth

How would I be rated in my relationships with others?  Are my boundaries healthy – am I a servant or always playing the role of a martyr?  Am I joyfully choosing to help others, or constantly complaining about what others are taking from me? We all know that one person that instead of having healthy boundaries and a positive image of herself and what she does for others, is simply Martha the martyr.  Those that are closest to her are tired of hearing how much she does for everyone and how little everyone appreciates her.  How healthy are your relationships & boundaries? 

How are you choosing to show up in your relationships?   Do you view some relationships as broken?

Or do you recognise that you are relating in a broken way to another person?

Take stock of your relationships and how you are showing up in those relationships!  There’s nothing you can do about how another person shows up in the relationship – the only person you are responsible for and you can control is yourself.  So, how are you going to show up in this relationship?  How will you be loving, patient, kind, peaceful & joyful?  How the other person chooses to respond is entirely on them – but you are responsible to do your part, and that may involve some healing work that you need to do within!  

Another example of respect in relationships is whether or not I choose to show up “on time” – Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us that showing high esteem for others includes respecting their time.

When you take stock of your relationships – what does this show you about your spiritual growth and where you are at?  

Your home & leisure 

Now – take a look around your home.  And then another look around how you spend your leisure time.  Does your home represent for you and for others a safe haven and spiritual space of peace?  

  • Is my home a place of contentment and gratitude, irrespective of what situation and circumstances I am facing? 
  • Have I learned in all things to be content, giving thanks always?  
  • Does my house demonstrate an orderliness and lack of clutter – or do I need to pay more attention to my surroundings?   
Good Steward, Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much


Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much

Luke 16:10

Of equal importance, am I good steward of my home and of my leisure time? Where am I spending my time? How am I looking after what I have?  

Health & Well-being 

Do you treat your body with the honor & respect that it deserves?  We are told that our body is a “temple” – how clean are you keeping your temple?  How well are you looking after it and maintaining it?  

Are you holding any dis-ease within your body?  What is at the root of this?  

Most importantly you might ask yourself as you take stock:  

  • How well are you sleeping? Do you give your body adequate rest and relaxation?  
  • How energetic do you feel? Or are you always feeling tired & sluggish?  What changes are you making to feel more energetic? 
  • How is your digestive system and your gut? Do you feed your body what it needs? Or are you governed by your bodily cravings?  Who is your master?  
  • How do you feel in your body?  
  • What parts of your body are working perfectly well? 
  • Have you said “thank you” to your body for all the hard work it does, carrying you around and keeping your going?  Have you said thank you to the Creator for being so wonderfully made?  

And finally – how are you taking total care of yourself – mind, body, soul & spirit?  When you take stock of where you are at, right here and now, how well are you doing?  

Finances, Savings & Investments 

Another part of your stewardship is your finances: 

  • Do you have a budget? 
    • Are you clear on your incomings and your outgoings?
  • What savings do you have? 
  • What debt do you have 
  • If you prepared a balance sheet of your assets (everything you own with its current market value) and your debts (everything you owe) – what would be the net balance? 

When you take stock of your financial situation – do you feel spiritually satisfied and content with where you are at?  This isn’t simply about your ego feeling good about it (look at me, I’m so good) or about your need for “security & safety” being met – but rather that you have a clear appreciation that spiritually you are putting your finances to the best use possible and that this is honoring Spirit.  

Conclusion 

Well, wow! That was long and a lot to take in!  

I’d love to hear your comments and feedback on how you went with “taking stock” of where you are at today – and what areas of your spiritual growth you want to focus on, now that you have a very clear idea of where you are at!  

Now that you know EXACTLY where you are – where will you choose to grow to?  

The ladder of virtue, So devote yourselves to lavishly supplementing your faith with goodness, and to goodness add understanding, and to understanding add the strength of self-control, and to self-control add patient endurance, and to patient endurance add godliness, and to godliness add mercy toward your brothers and sisters, and to mercy toward others add unending love. 2 Peter 1: 5-7

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