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Thread: Role of Religion in Personal Development

  1. #11
    Senior Member Array
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    I think there's been a lot of balancing and correcting over the years as far as my walk w/Christ has gone. There are a lot of styles and people and principals in the Bible one can identify with, so it's no wonder you have some fire & brimstone types, some touchy feely types, some big money raisers and some empty themselves out to total poverty.

    During my formative years, religion primarily served as the basis for my morality. I wasn't perfect but it kept me from becoming an addict or knocking some classmate up at 16. I didn't really start to develop a spiritual side until my mid to late 20's. I prolly did more works then and into my 30's. As a 9w1, it would be easy for me to neglect myself, so to speak, at the behalf of assisting others. I never was unhealthy in levels nor codependent, so it was hard to notice.

    I think there was some restriction on my personal development. I was doing a lot and staying active but it wasn't until I had a "pruning" that I have sort of a paradigm shift as far as viewing my roll in the church and getting a better understanding of the nature of God. Mainly that I couldn't, nor was supposed to, completely wrap my head around Him.

    In kind of this life long restriction, at some times I'd feel angry about sorta being held back in life. I was, however, able to develop some mad discipline skillz. In just the past year I've been able to ask God for stuff for myself. Stuff should prolly be in quotes. I've done that before for my needs like car, job, place to live and have petitioned in prayer for wisdom and opportunity but the results I would've expected or would've accepted would have been more serendipitous. Almost like 'if it didn't fall in my lap, I wasn't meant to have it.' And believe me when I say a car, jobs and money have fallen out of the sky for me.

    I've kinda lost some unwarranted guilt and fears of being perceived as selfish over the years. Now, I'd like to do more big picture stuff as opposed to one-on-one stuff. There's a lot of empowering theology being peddled now. It's something I've either avoided or just kinda thought whatever about. Unfortunately, it often translates into the gospel of wealth with so many people, particularly in America wanting more, More, MORE!! that they really miss the point.

    As an INTP, having a desire to observe and take in and of course have my personal peace & space, I prolly have been more timid in life than I now wish I had been. Like I was never really afraid of say failure or rejection but kinda felt that I needed that green light from God telling me it's OK to go ahead. Of course the validating verses for exploration have always been there. I find myself at times being almost resentful for not having these truths or an expanded perspective on life and Christianity revealed to me earlier. So often in my head I'll think of mistakes or missed opportunities. Part of growth is realizing I can and should just cut that thinking out.

    There's still also realization that trust and faith in God is all encompassing. Like I had no doubt God would heal my mother when she was deathly ill but some days I'm at work, stuck in my cube feeling like everyone thinks I'm an idiot and should be scribbling w/crayons and feeling old and gray and wondering how miserable is my life gonna be 5-10 years from now and what can I do, no one's gonna listen to me, and then I have to look back and reflect on the trials already overcome. God hooked me up in the past because I believed; He'll do it again. My biggest part of maturity, of late, is not getting caught up in the circumstances but staying focused on what I can do. I feel much better. I don't need as many good or happy things to happen to feel good or hopeful. As soon as I say, "it's all good, baby, you're still in the game" then I notice the timing of good things happening after I was able to let go.

    So I guess ultimately I have to believe that my shortsightedness or lack of understanding or even religious programming as to what I felt I should've been that sometimes may've led me into secluded areas and limited my thinking have had their benefits in developing me and expanding the possibilities for my future. How often I'll think of a verse like Romans 8:28 applies more for dudes in prison or someone who's maimed someone in a DUI, but I think it's in the broken dreams of everyday life as well.

  2. #12
    Senior Member Array
    Join Date
    Jul 2008


    Religion is a difficult thing to sort through I think, especially nowadays given the way many religions are constructed. It is possible, however, to embark on a process of discovery to go back to fundamental sources of religious thought...I suspect this can be done in any religion. In this way I believe one can peel back layers of culture that relate to religion, but may also cloud the essentials that are happening at the source....much like a spring from which a river flows. In this regard, I suggest that in most cases one must go backward to revisit the sources.

    Okay, that said, in my own tradition, personal development is linked with the concept of conversion...conversion of heart, conversion of mind, conversion of life...whatever. That equates to personal development, I suppose, but it is also about constant internal creation and dynamic movement within the spiritual life. I will say that sometimes conversion can seem like death, especially if we are faced with letting go of illusions about things....even our religious concepts should they be too limited (and they almost always are)!!

    Add to this the fact that (in my tradition anyway), the ultimate goal is not necessarily a specific code of behavior or morality which we might equate with is all about connection. I truly believe (and observe) that often we do not wind up attaining or posessing any outrageous degree of higher development is more that we become connected to the ultimate Good, and that is what changes us somehow.

    Religion is a powerful good in our world, but is so poorly understood that it is nearly buried. Truly, some stuff should remain buried....but within it lies that spring of fresh water that can truly sustain the human person.

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