Ensuring {& measuring} spiritual growth

 In change, faith, nature

In just one season, that sunflower burst 10 feet tall! The original small seed, the one cradled in my palm just months before, sprinted skyward. In the process, it developed a thick stalk and an impressive, beautiful bloom.

And under its downcast head, tippy-toeing on the stool, my children reach toward heaven with yellow tape dangling. They measure growth … they measure progress … and from my mother eyes, I can so clearly see their own. For, just years before, I cradled them. They’ve developed such skill and spirit during their seasons on Earth. Their blooms impress and beautify my world!

sunflower 1

On the other hand, I’m not sure the telling, yellow tape would prove much personal progress lately. My spirit soars more slow than sprinting. I know growth has occurred over time, for I can look back to days gone by and (cringing) think, “’Twas I, but ‘tis not I.” But as for growth in my current state – in this season – I’m not seeing it clearly.

With those thoughts tumbling in my head this morning, I read:

“… it can be easy to get stuck in a rut of routine, especially with spiritual things. We read our scriptures, pray, and worship the same way almost every day and then wonder why we seem to be in a spiritual slump …” (written in a sidebar near this month’s Ensign article, “Finish with Your Torch Still Lit.”)

I kind of want to hit my head when I read it. I feel crazy for not thinking it on my own. Isn’t a description of the word “insanity” doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result?! If I worship the same way over and over again, of course I’ll maintain the same level of spiritual growth. If I’d like something to change, I must change something.

The words in the Ensign continue with a challenge:

“Think of a gospel-related activity you’ve never done before (or hardly ever do) and commit to doing it every day for a month. You can start small because you’ll find that it’s easier to turn small changes into lasting ones. Doing things that take us out of our spiritual comfort zone might require more faith and effort on our part, but when we do them, we are inviting the Holy Ghost to be with us, we are showing greater faith in Heavenly Father and a desire to draw nearer to Him.”

sunflower av

This sunshiney weekend is *General Conference – a spiritual retreat that is free and available to all. The two-day, worldwide gathering of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will offer five, two-hour sessions of spiritual instruction from living prophets and apostles. Through word and song, the Spirit speaks to listening souls. And I know the Spirit will tell me what changes I can make, to move out of spiritual comfort zone and move closer to Him. It is the little seeds of faith, the small and simple changes that grow us. Slow and steady won the race for the hare, and can for our hearts. Speed doesn’t matter, but the direction does. We must be constantly growing closer to Him. For if we’re not progressing toward Him, we’re shrinking away from Him.

So, I close this day with prayers for upward growth. May His Spirit, and His Son will fill us {and our world} … that we may bloom more beautifully for His kingdom.

What do you do to ensure consistent spiritual growth? How have you inched out of your spiritual comfort zone and come closer to Him? I’d love to hear! Please comment below!

*To watch General Conference, simply go to lds.org on Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (PDT), and also Saturday evening at 5 p.m. …

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