How Tall Are You Spiritually?

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Do you ever feel you’re not progressing as much as you would like to spiritually? Do you find yourself repenting for the same things over and over? Do your weaknesses remain weaknesses? Do you feel you should be farther down the road to perfection by now?

Our youngest son is six months old. He’s more than doubled his birth weight and added more than half his original length to his body.

But you know what? Even though my brain knows my son is basically growing all.the.time, the growth happens slowly enough for me not to notice on a moment-to-moment, or even day-to-day basis. It’s when something “big” happens – like the glorious moment he first smiled, or when I caught him really crawling for the first time (yesterday!) – that I think:


What happened to my baby? When did he stop being a newborn?

A baby’s growth is hard to estimate visually on a day-to-day basis, but quantifying it over time isn’t difficult. Indicators and measurements abound. Height. Weight. Head circumference. Developmental milestones like rolling over, sitting, and crawling.

Unlike measuring physical growth, measuring spiritual growth – though not impossible – is an imperfect science. Spiritual habits, like how often we study the scriptures, pray, or attend church, are easier to quantify but aren’t necessarily equivalent to spirituality. Besides, our personal circumstances and trials change, so it’s difficult to compare the person you are today with who you were years (weeks, days, hours?) ago.

If we had a reliable way to measure spiritual growth and personal improvement, I believe many of us would realize that we have grown. That we have gained an ounze or two of trust in the Lord. That we have shot up an inch or two in honesty. That our “head control” has improved significantly. (cleaner thoughts?)

Maybe our spiritual progress is slow because we’re not working on it as hard as we ought. Most of us probably aren’t, but that’s a topic for a different post. The message in this post, however?

Just because our spiritual growth is too slow for us to notice on a day-to-day basis doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not taking place. And perhaps spiritual growth – becoming a better person, doing the works of righteousness – is more about the direction we travel rather than the milestones we reach along the way to perfection.

Any ideas on how to measure spiritual growth in a reliable way? (Answering the questions in Alma Chapter 5 in the Book of Mormon might be a good way to start!?)

Comments

  1. I found your blog! I’m really enjoying your spiritual insight. You are making me want to step it up a notch in the spirituality department.

  2. Edward Karlsson says:

    You describe and lay something to rest that I have been struggling with since I was released from my last calling. It was kind of a demanding calling and it helped me to reach a new “spiritual high”, and I needed to have that in order to be able to serve as well as I could. Then I was released and I have for the past 4 months had a much less “spiritually demanding” calling. I have since then struggled a bit to keep that closeness to the spirit that was necessary to have previously.
    I have still been trying to work on it… but with a lot fewer opportunities to exercise faith and a lot fewer reasons to have to seek the guidance of the spirit in decisions. So naturally I have felt that I am not as spiritual.
    Just before I read this post, I was going through and organizing pictures from as far as 10 years back… I didn’t think much of it, more than the occasional, “wow”, “hmm” or “oooh :|”. But when I read your post and realize the difference in spiritual growth, I can see a huge difference in myself. I would not want to go back to the person I was that many years ago (or even a few years ago). At least not when i comes to spiritual maturity. But now I can see the path that a loving Father in Heaven has lead me along, and the wisdom in his guidance.

    Maybe an occasional struggle for additional spirituality (when not necessary by church related demands) is a way for us to prove to ourselves and to our Heavenly Father that we are still willing to work on our closeness to Him even though the reward is not instant, or the following sunday.

    Thanks for posting! :)

    • angelicahagman says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences, Edward, and for taking the discussion one step further. I find the last part of your reply especially profound. How diligent we are at seeking to be spiritually in-tune when we’re not “forced” to by circumstances (like demanding callings or trials) seems to me a great indicator of true spirituality. In that way, “good times” are often harder than “difficult times” for our spiritual growth. But, as you said, an excellent time for us to “prove ourselves” to Heavenly Father!

      Thanks again for your insight!

  3. Just wanted to add that I love that photo! :)

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