Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spiritual Inventory

Like I mentioned in the last post, one of the challenges from this last week/end was to take a full spiritual inventory. We were then encouraged to share it with a Spiritual Running Partner (aka accountability partner). Jill and I had both shared and confessed to one another when we first became accountability partners but that was a while ago and we both thought it would be good to go through the inventory to determine whether there was anything we may have inadvertently neglected to share.

Tuesday morning I sat down with my Soul Revolution book to go through the inventory. It asked me to write down five different headings under which I would write down whatever came to mind that needed to be confessed and forgiven (I figured I'd list everything including the things that had previously been confessed to be thorough).

The first heading was RESENTMENTS. Anything that I felt resentment toward - people, institutions, ideas - I was to list. It was an eclectic little list but not all that long. I guess that means I tend to do a decent job of forgiving others (my perception, could be inaccurate).

The second heading was FEARS. This was to include any childhood fears along with an explanation of why I am afraid. It also was relatively short but there was sort of an underlying theme of fear of rejection and/or humiliation. Interesting observation.

The third list was MORAL BEHAVIORS. This is anything that was against God's will - lying, cheating, sexual impurity, greed, revenge, etc (check out Galatians 5:19-21 for additional items that could be included). This list ended up being the longest along with the one about which I felt the most shame. Talking with Jill, these are the things that society tends to condemn the most. Fear (not trusting God), resentment (unwillingness to forgive), pride, selfishness, etc - none of those are really seen as sinful in our culture. "Getting what's yours" (selfishness) is definitely seen as acceptable behavior.

The fourth list was PRIDE AND SELFISHNESS. We were to think about where these two issues have hurt others or separated us from God - acted unloving or hypocritical. I know that selfishness is a definite struggle as is pride. It's really hard not to struggle in a "me first" culture. This is one area I definitely want to grow in and am willing to admit that I fall short of "loving others as yourself".

The fifth list was RELATIONAL/EMOTIONAL STRUGGLES. When writing down people's names, we were to write down the feelings associated with their name (fear, anger, shame, guilt, envy, etc). This list was surprisingly short yet brought up the most emotions when discussing it with Jill. I guess because I do value relationships and don't want there to be any issues.

Looking over the list, I was reminded of when I was younger and had a "holier-than-thou" attitude. Sure I had lied and cheated, but I had not committed any sexual transgressions or participated in illegal activities (drinking or drugs) so I was a-okay in my mind. Definitely a Pharisee-in-training. I was able to justify any sin as "not as bad" as some others that I could have committed. I had my own sin rating system (which, unfortunately for me, God does not have or endorse). Praise the Lord for helping me to see myself as I truly was - a sinner like everyone else in desperate need of a Savior! Now, seeing everything that I could think of written out has reinforced my need for grace. It was a very humbling experience that really helped me to see myself as I am and how much I need God in my life. I am thankful that some of the items on the list are no longer struggles. I also see how much I need to grow and know that, if I stay connected to God, he can change me in these areas.

Having seen what you are supposed to write and then share with another person, I'm sure you can understand how difficult this can be. It requires extreme vulnerability. Even knowing that Jill already knew most of this, it is still hard to place yourself in a position to be rejected, judged, or condemned. We have established a strong enough relationship that we knew neither would do that to the other. Still, it wasn't easy to share. Knowing that we were both confessing was beneficial because both were required to be vulnerable. And it was a great opportunity to demonstrate acceptance and love to one another.

The best part about our sharing, was the conversation about which parts were hardest to share, where we wanted to change and the prayer at the end. I love praying with Jill! It is so encouraging to hear someone pray for you and to be able to pray for another person. I was so refreshed afterward. Yes, we both left with a "things to do" list but it helps knowing that she supports me and it definitely challenges me to do what is needed because I know she will follow up to see how I'm doing.

Do you have someone with whom you can be completely honest? If so, isn't it freeing to be able to just be and not have to put up a front? If not, would you like to have someone like this? Pray that God would bring that someone into your life. He is faithful!

No comments:

Post a Comment