Rarely in life does 'One Size Fit All'. Let me tell you a little story of two close friends of mine.
Jigar was born in India into a Hindu family, spent a good portion of his childhood in the UK and his family eventually ended up in Canada where he still lives today. Through an honest journey of seeking and asking hard questions, connecting to a community that he felt he could belong to and be accepted, having a supernatural spiritual experience, Jigar became a follower of Jesus and to this day is on a journey of what that all means for him.
Jon grew up near a small community in Alberta, on a farm in a Christian home. He was taught from the beginning about Jesus and His Story and through his journey had to make his faith his own by being convinced of the truths he was taught, experience this faith for himself and began a lifelong journey as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Can we accept someone else's story and see God working differently in each one of our lives, and even learn from those people, or must we only listen to people who hold our own perspectives?
When I think about both these stories, they couldn't be any more different. Born literally worlds apart and living very different lives (one's journey was built on the foundation of a Christian upbringing and the other still wrestles with what it means for a Hindu to follow Christ) both choose to follow the way of Jesus Christ and His Story, but how both came to this place and how each lives out their faith journey looks drastically different.
I deeply appreciate both these men and both have challenged me and helped me to grow in more ways then I can count. What a tragic shame it would be for one of them to deny their experience and claim their journey to faith was invalid solely based on the fact that it didn't look like the others. But the sad truth is this happens much too often.
One's personal spiritual journey rarely looks like another, and there is no 'One Size Fits All' approach to spiritual development.
As a young man, I was very convinced that I had the majority of this life and faith thing figured out and saw it as my duty to convince anyone who didn't see the world as I did to come over to my enlightened side. As I have grown older and had the honour of working in pastoral ministry, seeing real people with real lives dealing with real life issues, it has become increasingly clearer that one's personal spiritual journey rarely looks like another, and there is no 'One Size Fits All' approach to spiritual development--Uniformity is not the same as unity.
Imagine what would happen if we allowed God to work through our own journey and realize that we all have our own story, our own struggles, our own victories, our own gifts and things we can contribute and share? What if it was less about seeing people as either in or out, but instead we invite people on a journey with us as we walk closer towards Jesus and building an intimate community together.
As we journey through life together, I suspect we will run into people we disagree with or their journey will look very different from our own. The question is: can we accept their story and see God working differently in each one of our lives? Can we learn from those who look very different from us, or must we only listen and journey with people who hold our own perspectives?
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