Today I am beginning a series of blog posts sharing my spiritual formation journey. My spiritual formation is a journey of discovering what prevents me from staying centered, what Jesus’ ministry will look like if I am not centered, and what attitudes and practices will guide me.
The main thing that prevents me from staying centered in my spiritual life is when I fail to wake up early enough to have significant quiet time in the morning. Because I choose to have my quiet time in the morning before getting ready for work I need to wake up at 4:30 AM in order to have that quiet time. Waking up at 4:30 AM is tough because it is always dark and it means I need to get to bed early. So, when I have to stay up late to get some work done or have trouble falling asleep at night I struggle waking up early enough to have good quiet time.
Another thing that prevents me from being centered is when I become angry and aggravated at work. This does not happen very often, but when it does I notice that I am no longer feeling centered and grounded as I normally do. Another issue I have been working to remedy which negatively affects my spiritual life is when I attempt to take my goals into my own hands. At times when I feel God has asked me to accomplish things and they are not happening fast enough I start to take my own path to seeing them fulfilled.
For example, I feel that God has told me that I am to make leaders of every day men and women. In response to that I have self-published a book, write six blog posts a week, tweet thoughts on Twitter, and interact with people on Facebook. When the amount of readers on my blog or the number of people “following” me on Twitter does not grow fast enough I start to think of ways that I can increase them instead of thinking about doing what God has asked me to do. Instead of thinking about how I can write content that will help people learn to become better leaders, I start to think of what I can do and say to gain more readers and followers (which is not good). If I was centered I would be focusing on doing God’s will and following Him, not on doing what I think is best to attract readers and followers.
Another thing that might prevent me from staying centered in my spiritual life is getting beaten up in the world. Because I live in a world full of sin that God says I should not love and be part of, it means the world will treat me harshly. From people at work who are mean to me, drivers on the road honking at me while trying to drive slowly and safely, people at Toastmasters who make statements which tear me down, to friends who fail me, these experiences hurt. When these things occur, I start to feel off center, resentful, angry, and mad. Those feelings do not allow me to stay and feel centered.
Fortunately I have God and his Word to help affirm in me what I feel called to do. While reading Jesus Driven Ministry I was greatly encouraged by this passage, “When we experience this affirmation over and over again, the messages we got from the world that we are useless, inferior, and insignificant lose their power.” If I pray with God and feel that He has told me to do something specific, then it is hard to handle negative feedback from others who are disagreeing with what I heard from God. If I allow these things to happen too often and do not work to combat them with spiritual practices that remedy them, then Jesus’ ministry in and through me will not reflect Him and it will not be successful.
 Christopher Scott, A Day of Hope: Leading Volunteers to Make a Difference in Your Community (Turlock, CA: Maximum Impact Leaders, 2010).