Growing up in a Christian household, it was easy for me to adopt my parents’ religion as my own. Although I considered myself a Christian most of my life, it wasn’t until I got to college that I really began to explore what being a Christian means to me. The older I become, the more I continue to grow in my understanding. While I can’t speak for other religions, I’ll share a few general things I’ve learned on my journey.
Everyone is on their own journey. I had to realize that I cannot be like everyone else, but I had to make my spiritual journey my own. There is so much freedom that comes from knowing that I can be myself and God loves me anyway. Yes, I can be a feminist, pro-black liberal and still be a Christian.
Connect with people who encourage you to grow spiritually. Having people around you who share the same faith is so important for encouragement, accountability and community. I’ve learned a whole lot from my Christian friends.
Connect with a place of worship. Church was always a part of my life as a child, but as an adult I see that there is something powerful in coming together with people who share the same faith and desire to be encouraged and challenged.
You may not agree with everything and that’s ok. Christianity has undertones of sexism and people have used certain verses of the Bible to support their oppressive behavior and mindset and that does not sit well with me. AT ALL. But in making my Christianity personal, I don’t have to subscribe to these ideas.
Make a goal and do your best to reach it. Spiritual growth does not come from doing the same thing day after day, month after month, and year after year. Making a goal, whether it be a yearly or monthly goal around practices such as prayer or reading, can help you take your spiritual life to the next level.
Maintain your practices. I’ve found that being consistent in Bible reading and prayer really sets my day of right.
Not everyone believes what you believe. Interestingly enough, even people who practice the same faith. There is no need to be defensive or attacking, remember, again, that everyone is on their own journey. But be open and willing to have conversations, which are sometimes uncomfortable, about your religion.
Growing spiritually is a constant journey and I may never be able to get it right, but I sure can try. Time and time again, I have found hope, peace, contentment and joy by connecting to what I believe.