How to be… Spiritual Differently on this Journey

Reflections from Dr. Howell

When I hear someone described as “spiritual,” I’m unsure whether the image that pops in my head makes me envious, annoyed or puzzled. I think the word connotes – sweetness? Or at least it’s somebody who does lots of churchy things and exhibits emotions that look like joy or peace, somebody who smiles or even beams.

But there’s no one way to be spiritual. We billions of people on earth have our own peculiar fingerprints and DNA, personalities, family histories, life circumstances – and if you have a spirituality, it too will be one that fits the unique wonder that you are. Mind you, there are some things all spiritualities will have in common, which will be the point of this series! But if you don’t match up well with that person others deem “spiritual,” let me lift this weight off of you. You don’t have to beam (although you might), or smile, or be churchy. You can battle depression or suffer chronic pain and have a profound spirituality.

It’s important to me that the word “spiritual” needn’t be a mood or disposition or anything else in you! Lop off the “-ual” and you’re left with “Spirit,” as in God. Spirituality is less about me or me being different than it is about God who’s around, above, behind, beneath and ahead of us. You may or may not believe there’s a God like that, or you may wonder or doubt. Those very feelings are already a baseline spirituality! I’d say God is around, above, behind, beneath and ahead of you and me whether we realize or notice or acknowledge this or not. If you’re still reading, you probably at least hope I’m right. Maybe the foundation of spirituality is opening yourself to the possibility, the dream that we’re not alone on our own.

Next time, I’ll encourage you to trust me when I say You don’t have to do something to become spiritual. You already are – in ways you’ve never considered.

TRY THIS: Put 2 or 3 sticky notes on your desk, in your car, on the frig – somewhere you’ll see them, and write on them I can be spiritual; maybe I already am.