Follow Pathways to Spiritual Health

Follow Pathways to Spiritual Health

In the last post I suggested some ways to encourage your own spiritual health.  This is a continuation of that a pathway to God subject.  One of the best means to spiritual growth is to follow  your individual pathways to spiritual health during times of crisis. What does that mean?  The idea of spiritual pathways was developed by a man named Gary Thomas in a book, Spiritual Pathways.  Thomas’ ideas were popularized by Bill Hybels in his book, Courageous Leadership.  John Ortberg also refers to these pathways in his book, God Is Closer Than You Thinkas well as his Bible Study with Ruth Haley Barton, An Ordinary Day With Jesus.   In this post I want you to consider what your primary paths might be, and to use those during this time of pandemic.

Worship as a pathway to health

worship as a pathway to God Some people feel God’s presence in a time of worship.  This can happen in two ways: a gathering of people helps to to bring a sense of God’s presence; or some who use this pathway simply listen to a worship set on Youtube or iTunes.  That can accomplish for this group the sense of God’s love and favor.  Has God wired you this way, that your heart sings as you lift your voice with others or by yourself?  This is one way to follow pathways to spiritual health during a time of stress.

Contemplation connects some to God

Some people need to withdraw in order to connect with God.  A day in a monastery dedicated to prayer and thinking about God is just the ticket to spiritual renewal for these people.  In the last post, I told you about a friend who spends one day a month in silence and solitude.  For him, this is a time of spiritual connection and renewal as a contemplative person.  What about you?  Does this resonate with your spirit?

Creation is a way to follow pathways to spiritual health

There is something about the created world that provides a pathway to spiritual health.  This is one of the pathways that I poster about seeing God in creationfollow to spiritual health as a regular practice.  I am sitting in a recliner as I write this post, but even as I mention creation as a pathway to spiritual health, pictures flood my mind; of being on the side of a mountain and looking down upon a beautiful valley; or sitting on a bluff above Lake Michigan and watching the waves beat upon the shore.  This is a powerful pathway for me, and one that I turn to regularly in times of stress.

Activity is a way to follow spiritual pathways to spiritual health

This pathway is about being on a mission to change the world.  God is present in the struggle for justice for the oppressed, or in a peaceful protest against systemic racism.  There are several good organizations that began by those for whom this is a pathway to spiritual renewal.  Do you identify with this pathway?  If so, find some way to engage, and it will contribute to your spiritual health.

Relational Pathway

a pathway to God For some people spending a day in silence and solitude is terrifying.  Such people need people around, and this is a way that they experience God.  This isn’t just for extraverts, but for anyone who experiences God’s presence in a discussion time with others, or in a walk with a good friend.

Serving Others is a Pathway

Filling life with service is the way many people experience renewal.  They experience God most powerfully when they are serving food at a rescue mission, or traveling to another country to serve the poor.  God shows up, these people say, in the poor.  If this is your pathway, find new ways to express it during this time of pandemic.

Study as a pathway to spiritual health

The great theologians of the past experienced God through their study of the Scriptures.  John Calvin, Martin Luther, and most of my seminary professors would fit this profile.  People for whom this is a way to follow pathways to spiritual health love nothing better than reading commentaries or doing Bible studies.

So What?

The “So what?” of this post is simply this: you need to stay spiritually alert during a time of stress and challenge.  One of the best ways to do this is to follow pathways to spiritual health and vitality.  If you’d like help with determining which pathways are especially suited to you, follow this link to a questionnaire that will help you.  For a deeper explanation of these pathways, here is a sermon by Jon Kragel of Mission Grove Church. that gives definition and application to each of this pathways to connection with God.