Fear of acceptance keeps us from talking about spirituality. We don’t want to offend anybody or put our worldview out in the open where it can be criticized. I find this unacceptable. Spiritual fitness is what makes a person able to overcome. It’s what makes us willing to sacrifice for something greater than ourselves. This is why the Journey Principles Institute emphasizes spiritual fitness as one of the 8 Pillars of Life.
How to Become Spiritually Fit
You don’t need to agree with my particular faith to agree that human beings are spiritual creatures and that spirituality is crucial to leading a truly successful life. The goal of this post isn’t to convince you of my particular worldview. Rather I’m going to share 7 principles to spiritual fitness that will help you live the life of a warrior. These will help you be that resilient person who stands up straight and never gives up no matter what.
1. Acknowledge Your Inner Power
Resilience and strength are built over time. They come from a person making the decision over and over again to not let their bad habits and lesser instincts rule over them.
What dragon is in your life that you know you need to face? Maybe it’s an addiction to alcohol, porn, your smartphone, or crappy food. Perhaps it’s a tendency to not stand up for yourself. It could be a fear of rejection that keeps you from putting yourself out there to the opposite sex, or a fear of failure that makes you want to kill time instead of work. Whatever it is, here’s what you have to believe: that enemy can be conquered. No matter what, you have to believe you can win. This is foundational to spiritual fitness.
The truth is that you’re more powerful than your flaws. In order to transform, start believing that you can. You’re stronger than you think you are, so put yourself to the test.
2. Seek and You Will Find
It’s not enough to just believe that you can defeat your personal demons. You also have to believe that you will. Spiritual fitness includes the conviction that your efforts will pay off and that you aren’t destined to be stuck. This conviction is what keeps us going. The reality is that there is almost always an intense search before a breakthrough. Moreover, the answers we need are often on the way to the answers we want. So regardless of what you’re searching for, keep searching and you will find it.
3. Ask the Hard Questions and Listen
It takes courage to ask hard questions about yourself. It’s even harder to listen for the truth. Everyone has blindspots, and we have to be curious about our own. If you’re not, you’re probably not spiritually fit. To find your blindpsots, first identify the problems in your life that you keep running into. Then ask yourself how you are contributing to that. Take responsibility for it. Brainstorm. Take your issue to people you trust and ask them where you may be holding yourself back. You could have loads of money, status, and accomplishments, but if you’re not willing to do this, you’re less than the man who is.
“Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”–King Solomon, The Book of Proverbs
4. Forgive and Move On
Nothing catapulted my life more than forgiveness. I was spending so much of my energy and time on being bitter that I wasn’t able to move on with my relationships, career, and inner world. Forgiveness is crucial to spiritual fitness. Without it, we will become so burdened by what has been done to us that we collapse.
Understand this: nothing in your life has been in vain. Nothing. Every injustice you’ve experienced can become a powerful lesson that propels you to true greatness. Staying angry and vengeful won’t accomplish this. Those emotions poison you and keep you from positivity and true transformation. A way to test if you’ve truly forgiven someone is to ask yourself if you want them to pay for what they’ve done. If you enjoy the thought of seeing them punished, you probably haven’t forgiven them.
By the way, one of the most important people to forgive is yourself. This can be the hardest person of all to release from the desire to repay.
5. Offer Grace and Mercy
We have to teach ourselves to see people as the person they can be, rather than how they may be behaving right now. When you honor someone more than they deserve, they are far more likely to change for the better.
“Treat a person as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a person as if he were where he could be and should be, and he will become what he could be and should be.”– Jimmy Johnson
In my life, the person who did this for me was my grandfather. I was an angry kid wounded by abandonment and poverty. My life was marked by laziness and contempt. But my grandfather never gave up on me. In fact, he called me “his little soul saver”, even when I was stubbornly against any kind of spiritual worldview. I cannot emphasize the long-term effect this had on me. In fact, I’m convinced that I wouldn’t be here today if my grandfather hadn’t treated me the way he did, in spite of myself.
6. Replenish and Connect
True warriors understand the need for rest. No matter how energetic we are, we have to take time to unplug and recover our strength. What keeps us from resting is insecurity – the belief that if we stop for a moment, our lives will fall apart and we will fail. People with spiritual fitness are secure enough to slow down. They don’t live their lives in fear. Instead, they’re courageous enough to put the work aside, take a breather, and trust that the world won’t fall to pieces if they do so.
Life requires certainty and uncertainty in equal measure. We have to be convicted about our principles and open to learning at the same time. Furthermore, we have to be willing to change our methods and priorities at the drop of a hat, constantly assessing and adapting. Few are able to do these things. If you can, you will be able to take the risks necessary to move forward while learning from your mistakes. The person who can is truly spiritual.
“When we cannot change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”-Viktor Frankl
Surrender did not come naturally for me. As a strong-willed person, I had a hard time accepting myself and my circumstances. But this actually made it harder for my circumstances to change. The tighter my grip on my life, the harder it was to actually receive good things. I couldn’t recognize the blessings when they came because they didn’t come in the forms that I wanted or expected them to. I’m still working on this aspect of spiritual fitness, and I probably will be for the rest of my life. That’s ok. The more we can learn to let go of our expectations of how things should be, the more power we will have over our circumstances.
Grow in Spiritual Fitness with The Journey Principles
I founded JPI because I want to see people healthy and prosperous. We believe that any person can overcome anything in themselves and in their environment and get the life they always wanted. That’s my story, and it can be yours.
Right now we’re giving away all of our E books for free so that you can get spiritually fit faster than I did. These include practical next steps and exercises that you can practice today. Click the link below and get started.