We have a new puppy, and for now we feed her puppy chow because it’s right for her growth stage. Growth takes different paths at different stages of development. When I was fresh in the faith all I wanted to do was study the Bible and learn more about this wonderful God I had just met. I needed to learn who He was and who I was now as this new creation in Christ. It took time and circumstances to really know who He was, to learn that He is trustworthy and that He is always good and always cares for me. It takes time to grow naturally; to grow spiritually also takes time but there are choices involved that either spur growth or slow the process down.
There is so much that can be said about spiritual growth or maturity. It encompasses everything in our life, what we are becoming, what we do, what we expose ourselves to, what we value and how we relate to everything and everyone around us. Most importantly of course it has to do with our relationship with God.
I would like to focus on how we relate to or connect with God. He is always present but much of the time we are not. Can we be present with Him more often or more aware of His presence with us? In his book Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas suggests that we are all wired differently and as such we have pathways connecting us with God that are unique to us. When I read Sacred Pathways I began to understand why I am so alive, so thankful, so close to and aware of God when I am in nature. One of my pathways is creative or naturalist relator that’s why it’s so easy for me to be fully present with Him outdoors.
The good news is you have a relative pathway or two of your own, and once you find it and spend time there, your connection to God will never be the same. Not everyone is wired for a morning quiet time with an open Bible and a cup of coffee in hand. If you are wired that way it’s a wonderful time, but if you are not it’s likely to be another spiritual chore you will fail at. When I discovered and understood my pathways, spending time with God became a highly anticipated and much more precious time. The closest thing I can relate it to is spiritual gifts. We all have at least one, they are given by God and we feel most fulfilled when serving from our giftedness. Pathways are like that– we all have a God given temperament that we relate to God from and come alive in. Here are the nine basic pathways:
- Naturalists- loving God outdoors
- Sensates- loving God with the senses
- Traditionalists- loving God through ritual and symbol
- Ascetics- loving God in solitude and simplicity
- Activists- loving God through confrontation
- Care Givers- loving God through serving and loving others
- Enthusiasts- loving God with mystery and celebration
- Contemplatives- loving God through adoration
- Intellectuals- loving God with the mind
The in-depth descriptions of these basic nine would take more time than this blog will allow. I know from experience that when you lean into your pathway spiritual growth happens. Time with God becomes more precious, more alive, and more highly anticipated. I believe learning how God wired us to best connect with Him and making time for it can make a significant transformation in our spiritual life.
by Fred Meserall
Fred and his wife Susan began attending Kingsway in June of 2014. They found Kingsway to be a place of refreshment and healing after their previous church experience. Fred is passionate about pursuing God, family, and lifegroups (including his current group which has been meeting continuously for 16 years). Fred and Susan absolutely love the fact that they, their two daughters and their husbands, and grandchildren all attend church together. Fred is a non-recovering “aquaholic” who enjoys spending as much time as possible at the beach, communing with God, working on his videoblog (aptly titled “Still at the Beach”), and all things surf and family.