July 27, 2023

Keeping It Spiritual: The Anchor of Your Identity.

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In the mayhem and monotony of everyday life, and our work, it can be easy to forget the foundation of everything; our relationship with Christ. When it comes to mentoring, there is so much to consider, from the technical details, to personal boundaries, to navigating emotional reactions, that it’s possible, likely even, to go through several sessions and forget to check in on a spiritual level.  This is the core of our values and the foundation of our identity. Our relationship with Christ should be what drives us in our work, our relationships and our mentoring sessions. 

My Findings

I have found that Christ is in every aspect of life if we look for him. I am reminded of a conversation I had during my burnout; while going through high stress and depression and moderate anxiety, I spent several months working with a psychologist. At one point, he asked me, “What is it you want?”  Now, that’s a good question—it will always make a person pause and think. It took me a while to come up with an answer that I was really happy with. I was a pastor at the time (and had been for 35 years) and I finally said “I want to build up a great church.” He affirmed, and said, “That is amazing,” but I remember feeling unsatisfactory with my answer. I knew what I wanted, or so I thought, but the goal felt far away, and I felt like I could do nothing in the present time to fix that. 

I spent some time thinking about this. Is it wrong to think about my aspirations? Dreams are great—nothing is done without dreams—but  my answer didn’t help the “who I am” at the core. So I looked deeper. What did I really want? What was my priority? If this goal was taken away from me, would it diminish who I am as a person?  I was reading through Philippians and came to Paul’s time in a Roman jail near the end of his life. He had already had an incredible impact on the church, had made many disciples and had transformed hundreds of lives. He knew he would soon be killed, and his thoughts turned to what he truly wanted: a relationship with Christ. 

Philippians 3:10-12 (NIV)

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

This made me think; I didn’t start out wanting to build a great church, I just wanted to know God and I wanted him to know me. I realised that taking a spiritual perspective, and focusing on this spiritual aspiration—my deepest aspiration—gave me hope and reminded me that if I follow my goal of knowing and being known by Christ, then my other aspirations will naturally follow God’s path. 

How to re-anchor yourself, your mentee and your relationship in Christ

The truth is, it’s not difficult to keep it spiritual, it just takes a little effort. Whenever we stop and pay attention, it is almost impossible not to see God at work. The difficulty comes in practising seeing him work in our everyday lives. Taking even five minutes at the end of each day to ask yourself, Where did I see God on my walk through the park? Where was God in that interaction with a stranger? Where was God working as I heard sad news about a friend? You will find that God and his plans are evident all around you. 

We should also keep in mind that God is always working in us. 1 John 3:1 (NIV) tells us, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” We are loved because we are his children, because we are who we are. 

Reflection Questions:

  • What is your deepest aspiration? 
  • Where did I see God in my life today? 
  • Where is God working in me? 

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