Spiritual PathMany people go through life checking things off their to-do lists and making it through the day. While figuring out what you're having for dinner is important, it's also vital to leave time to assess your spiritual life. Whether you grew up in the church or are just starting to explore where you stand spiritually, here are six questions that can help you fine-tune your understanding of your beliefs.

1. What Was Your Early Spiritual Experience?

How you were raised probably still has a big influence on what you believe today. Therefore, it makes sense to start your assessment by reflecting on your early spiritual experience. Even if your family didn't attend church, you likely had discussions about spiritual matters with someone. Think about the things you were taught and the code of ethics you were expected to follow. What beliefs or practices from your childhood still make sense, and what have you left behind?

2. What Characteristics Do You Ascribe to God?

Part of this discovery is looking at how you view God. Whether you believe God is a specific person or a force in the universe impacts how you interact with the divine. Try making a list of characteristics that describe who or what you believe God to be. As simplistic as this sounds, this process can be illuminating.

3. What Spiritual Rituals Are Meaningful to You?

The next thing to consider is how you act out your faith. How do you worship, or when do you feel closest to God? Some people have their most profound experiences in nature, while others are validated by gathering with their congregations in weekly services. The things you do to express your faith can tell you a lot about the kind of experience that is most meaningful to you.

4. How Does Your Belief System Fit Into Your Larger Worldview?

Ideally, your spiritual experience and the rest of your life would be in perfect sync. This is not always the case, though. That doesn't automatically invalidate one or the other. Look at the role your beliefs play in your life and how you relate to the world. What benefits do they bring? Do they pose any challenges?

5. How Do You Know You're on the Right Path?

An important part of any assessment is knowing the desired outcome. This is the criterion you use to evaluate whether your faith is leading you in a positive direction. If you feel the need to distance how you practice your faith from the rest of your life, for example, that is a clue that you are experiencing some cognitive dissonance about one or both of them. It's crucial to set guidelines that help you discern when something is off in your spiritual life or when you need to adjust your behavior to be more in line with your beliefs.

6. What Are the Areas of Growth You Are Most Concerned With?

Life is a series of lessons, and the things that you learn help you grow into the person you ultimately want to be. Having goals to improve your spiritual life is just as important as working toward responsible financial practices or good health. You can't do everything at once, though. Choose a couple of areas of growth that you want to focus on, and track your progress. An easy way to do this is with a journal where you record your thoughts at the end of each day.

Understanding what you believe is a key component of knowing who you are. While there may be seasons of your life when your spirituality is on autopilot, an occasional assessment of where you stand can help you move from just doing things by rote to engaging in meaningful practices.

Category: Spirituality

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