By Daniel Francis
As a personal development coach, I help foster a heightened level of self-awareness in my clients and myself. It’s a good idea to practise what you preach so, of course, I work on my development. With that in mind, I have recently been thinking about my spiritual development over the years.
I grew up in a family heavily steeped in the Catholic Church. We went to Mass every Sunday, had weekly prayer group meetings and I was even a part of my local youth group.
My environment was very conducive to nurturing my religious life although much of it was forced upon me by my parents. I’m sure many of you reading this may have that similar experience of your parents forcing you to do things like going to church when you were younger.
With the constant external push of my parents, it was pretty easy to stay consistent with my religious activities but as I grew older, I gradually noticed a shift in my priorities (as bad as that sounds).
My parents applied less pressure on me to participate in religious activities and other life activities began demanding more of my time. At the time, I was abroad working on getting my degree. When met with the choice of cramming for the exam on Monday or going to the school chapel for Mass, I opted out of Mass more often than not.
What started initially as missing Mass ever so often at the beginning of my university career deteriorated into my not going to Mass at all by the time I graduated. I remember feeling the least religious in those days. I had not gone to Mass in months, had not done confession in years, and barely glanced at my Bible.
I resorted to the bare minimum of going to Mass only during big religious holidays. I essentially devolved into a seasonal Catholic that only came to Mass on Easter and Christmas.
I say this not to make any seasonal Catholics feel bad but to highlight what I think happens to many of us. We slowly mash the breaks on our religious practices. We justify it as becoming busy or tired. What starts as reduced activity turns into an almost complete halt.
The thing is, there are many different areas of our lives that we must all juggle. To borrow from the Wheel of Life model there are six areas: Financial and Career, Social and Cultural, Family and Home, Mental and Educational, Physical and Health and finally, Spiritual and Ethical.
Being your best self is about managing all these areas and ensuring that each area is getting its required attention. I like to think of each area as a subject. We have As in some subjects, Bs and Cs in others, and some that are completely neglected. These neglected areas get a failing grade.
It is up to us to be aware of where we stand in each area. Then, acknowledge what goals we must set to improve each area but especially prioritise those areas that are doing poorly.
Your spiritual life is an important area of your life that needs to be nurtured and developed like all the other areas of your life. You should prioritise your religious activities just like you prioritise making money, providing for your family, and learning.
At the end of the day, the sum total of all your areas amounts to you and your overall value. One area of your life being neglected will inevitably affect the others which will, of course, affect you.
I’ve had to put in much intentional work to get back on track with my religious life. I’m not near where I want to be, but I am determined to keep working at it.
When you look at the different areas of your life and especially your spiritual life, are you content? If the answer to that is ‘no’, just know that the only person who can change that is you. Luckily, God is with you, and you can start making a change now.
Isaiah 41:10, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be alarmed, for I am your God. I give you strength, truly I help you, truly I hold you firm with my saving right hand.”
Daniel Francis is a millennial helping other millennials. He is a two-time author of the books The Millennial Mind and The Millennial Experience, and an entrepreneur. Over the past four years, he has served as a Personal Development Coach whose work targets Millennials and helps them tap into their full potential. He is also a Self-publishing coach and has guided hundreds on self-publishing their book successfully.
LinkedIn: Daniel Francis