Spirituality is the quality of the relationship we have first with ourselves, then with others and the environment within which we exist, and finally with whatever we choose to be our ultimate reality.

Spirituality may not be something that is high on a priority list during a person’s early growing years. However, as we age, grow and mature, we may discover the existence of an inner space - our private world. Some people are surprised and disturbed when they make such a self-discovery. They suddenly realize they have spent most of their time and energy running their life on a visible level, at the surface. We accumulate a host of assets such as school degrees/diplomas, work experience, money, relationships and physical strength and beauty. There is nothing wrong with that. However, we must come to see ourselves living in two different worlds.

One is our outer world which is very visible, it is the part of our life that is the center of our success, popularity and beauty. Our inner world is more spiritual in nature. Here is a center in which choices and values can be determined, where solitude and reflection can be pursued. It is a quiet place within ourselves where we find worship, confession, reflection and peace. It’s important to know that we can develop a spiritual being as a discipline just like an athlete trains for competition.

Once we begin to realize that genuine spiritual growth is a continuous and sometimes difficult process, we may be tempted to think that it is an option that we can take or leave. We fail to realize that spiritual shaping is a primary reality of human existence. Everyone is in a process of spiritual formation. Every thought we hold, every decision we make, every action we take - all of these things are shaping us into some kind of a human being. Life itself is a process of spiritual development.

In my spiritual journey, I have had struggles with my beliefs. Two things have stood out in strengthening my spiritual life. One has been seeing the birth and growth of us as human beings in terms of the complexity of our human bodies. When I think of all the parts of the body and how they function and work together to give us a life form, it is an amazing process. There is no way I can see us as human beings being put together through a random process.

The second has been when I have been standing on 14,000 ft. mountain peaks in Colorado observing the beauty I can see when looking down on lakes, glaciers, and the majestic snow capped peaks in the distance on a 360 degree vista.

These examples have given me a sense of being closer to God who created the earth. My faith gives me an anchor when making decisions, gaining new friends, and dealing with challenging losses. I want for you the wonders of life I have had. I want for you to grow spiritually and for me to pass the torch of faith on to you.

The first step in spiritual discipline is finding solitude and silence. Let God talk to you through the Bible and through prayer. The second step is using meditation and reflection to admit that a relationship with God is necessary in order to be the human being you were created to be. The third step is to have a church family where you connect and spend time in worship with other believers.

The ultimate goal of life remains the spiritual growth of the individual. And one of the most important things we need to do is “To Know Thyself”. This means measuring your self by that which you have found within yourself to be your ideal, knowing what you believe in, and acting that way. Spirituality is essentially the pursuit of truth. What we continually think about, we become. Test your spiritual growth by examining the nature and quality of your relationships with others. Are you more loving, more patient, more compassionate, more understanding, more caring, more giving, more forgiving than you were a year ago? If you can’t answer these questions in the affirmative, and especially if others cannot answer them in the affirmative about you, then you need to examine carefully the nature of your spiritual life and growth.

I trust you will take this “note” as it is intended, to be a valuable resource in your spiritual growth and to be a guide for how you live out your life.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Gessner is a former football coach and teacher in Addison, Michigan and served as a sales manager for two national corporations. Dr. Gessner was Associate Director of the University of Michigan Extension Service and was Dean of Continuing Studies at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. He has conducted workshops on interpersonal relationships throughout the United States.

Masters Degree, University of Michigan
PhD, Michigan State University