Monday, September 13, 2010


What are the major obstacles to your spiritual growth? Have you ever thought about that question? Have you ever tried to name those obstacles in very specific terms? It's important to know what, exactly, is keeping you from reaching the next level of character and maturity. Naming your obstacles is the most important step in overcoming them.

I tried this exercise the other night. I wanted to brutally honest with myself because I'm tired of not advancing to the next level. I'm tired of dealing with the same crap every day. And I know that if I don't define those obstacles in crystal clear terms--if I don't see them with clear eyes then they'll continue to impede my path. These are some of the major obstacles in my spiritual growth:

  • I want everything handed to me. I want to be given a trust and then prove that I'm trustworthy. I want someone to take a chance on me but I'm unwilling to take risks myself.
  • I'm afraid of not having the answer, of failing, of looking stupid, of not living up to my name, of not being able to provide for my family. I'm afraid that I don't have what it takes.
  • I don't have the endurance or strength to persevere through difficult trials with a godly attitude.
  • I rely too much on my gifts for success and don't put in the appropriate amount of effort.
  • I hesitate to initiate and engage with others.

I came up with 12, and I'll spare you the self-flaggelation. But it's really not an exercise in defeatism or self-deprecation. It's an exercise in truth-telling. If you don't know the truth about yourself then you can never be the person God has created you to be. 

Moving to the next level is not simply about identifying obstacles. It's also about identifying the way forward. It's about naming those character qualities that you presently lack but need in order to more fully become the person God intends for you to be.

My obstacles can be summed up with the acronym FLEW. (I know, I hate acronyms, too.) Fear. Laziness. Entitlement. Weakness. So, naturally, I had to come up with an acronym to show me the way forward: CHALDI. (Take that bit of irony, O Urge To Create Acronyms! See, it's not even a real word!) Courage. Humility. Agape Love. Discipline. Initiative. 

These five strengths of character are what I need in order to run with the horses. I need courage, humility, agape love, discipline and initiative in order to be the man God has created me to be. I need to know what my obstacles are, and where they pop up during my day. So what are the major obstacles to your spiritual growth? And what do you need in order to go to the next level of maturity and character?

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