A Seaman's Quest

One man's search for truth

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The Journey of Faith

The Seasons of Faith

Each of us are on a journey of spirituality throughout our lives.  This is a complex journey with many milestones along the way.  We tend to believe that spirituality is like building wealth. Our expectation is that as life progresses, we accumulate wisdom and understanding of the truth.  We anticipate that our faith keeps getting stronger and our beliefs do not change substantially from when we were young.

This has not been my experience. I cannot give a general explanation for what happens to others, but I have pondered my own journey deeply and can describe it to you. Your mileage may very and I invite you to consider what is true for you in light of my journey.

Faith is both private and public. Spirituality is my private experience of reality.  It involves my world view, what I truly value, and my beliefs.  In short, it represents my understanding of reality and truth. It governs every action in my life and determines what I think about myself, others, and God.

There is also a public dimension to my faith that affects how I interact with other people.  My private spirituality affects my public church life but they are quite distinct. I may be thriving in my church life while struggling in my private spirituality, or vice versa. I think about my faith as incorporating both my private and public experiences.  This discussion will touch on both aspects of faith in my life.

If life were static then faith would also be fairly static and predictable.  As I get older, I recognize that life goes through  seasons that are dramatically different from one another.  When I was twenty, I had figured out all of life's mystery. But, as I turned sixty, I now understand how wrong I was.  The seasons of life demand that we solve different problems at every stage.

Our life development is determined largely by career and family.  Our career does not greatly affect our spirituality, unless you are some kind of a holy man or a criminal.  Our faith has a large impact on how we conduct our work life. Typically our career does not alter our faith substantially.

Our family life can have a profound impact on our lives.  As our family matures so must our beliefs about ourselves, others, and even God.  The demands of family will force us to mature in our understanding of how the world works. 

Spirituality determines how we embrace truth.  It dictates how we see ourselves and others.  Faith is determined, to a large extent, by what we value, which changes to match each life stage.  I do not value at 60 what I once did at 20.  Therefore, my beliefs have adjusted to focus on the unanswered questions of this time.  It is a question of emphasis and priority.  New things are now important to me and so they are reflected in my world view.

I hope that you can read about my journey and see yourself in the story.  Your journey will certainly deviate because your life journey is different. But I hope that you can recognize the milestones as we pass them.  I find that each decade in my life has demanded a fundamental change in my world view. So my faith journey can be told as a series of milestones.