Spiritual Development: Learning from Our Experiences


You can learn how to use spiritual memoir, or spiritual autobiography, for spiritual development here at Journey on Canvas. This page will help you explore your spiritual story for spiritual growth and spiritual development.

People Praying in a Circle

The events that flame your spiritual development are often the unexpected ones. I remember my role as the Resident Director on my college campus. It was ironic that I became the Resident Director. Two hundred freshman students lived in the dorm with me. I was supposed to bring them stability, safety and predictability. It was amazing that I managed to do my job so well. I was so young and had so much to learn. It was a miracle that my life was any good for anyone.

Eventually I learned that I had much to offer my younger classmates. In high school everyone acted like they were perfect. Few people let their troubles be seen. At Pratt people were honest about their lives and they were not afraid to share. People knew all about my troubles, challenges and lack of experience. This didn't stop them from coming to me for support. We shared life honestly. Sometimes, I found that I was the one who was holding things together. This happened even on the days when I felt like I had nothing to offer.

Being the Resident Director changed my life. I learned that I didn't have to be perfect to matter. I learned that I could be imperfect and still make a difference in the world. I discovered that God would still use me in spite of my limitations. From this experience grew much spiritual development.

Spiritual journeys are influenced by many factors. What experiences changed your life and became a source of spiritual development? What experiences changed and shaped your self perception? How has God used you through these experiences, and how have they become a part of your spiritual growth plan? Where do these influences fit within your spiritual autobiography?

Sharing My Journey

Learning from my experiences:

Being the R.D., my room has been strategically placed by the freshman boys' community bathroom. I'm supposed to keep my ears open to head off drunken behavior and bathroom brawls. The boys are loud in the bathroom twenty four hours a day. The noise makes sleeping through the night so much harder.

I'm really tired. I drink the cold medicine that comes in the freshman welcome pack. It makes me tired at first and I fall asleep, but I don't sleep for very long. I wake up a few hours later with my heart racing. I'm feeling sick, I'm exhausted, and I'm on overdrive. It's useless to go back to bed. I'm too revved up.

I turn on a lamp and I work on a painting, I paint myself playing the flute. I wanted to learn how to play the flute so my parents got me one for my birthday. A friend gives me flute lessons in the chapel once a week. Sometimes I play songs from a hymnal. I can't sing very well so the flute is my voice. I try to paint how I feel when I'm playing hymns on my flute. I feel like I'm playing a song just for God and He's watching me. I feel like He likes what He sees.

Woman with Flute

My Voice
Age 21


Sharing Your Journey

Learning from your experiences:

Experiences, and the emotions they arouse in us, can thwart spiritual development. These same experiences can change our spiritual journeys and become an impetus for spiritual growth. What happens to us and inside of us, good or bad, can have an important place in our spiritual autobiographies. And, for most of us, life experiences are connected to how we feel and think. It’s all a part of our story.

What experiences have changed you the most? Think of your biggest life defining moments and life changing experiences. Write them down in your journal. Rank each event according to the magnitude of its influence. Ask God to guide you as you decide which event has had the greatest impact on you. Think about the feelings that surround this event and list them. Journal about this important experience.

Testimonies: The Power of Inspirational Christian Stories was formerly titled Dancing in the Doghouse. This spiritual autobiography has been renamed and redesigned to better reach its audience.

Past Work!

Jesus Opens Doors

Jesus Opens the Door
If I Can't, Jesus Can
Age 41

Sometimes I get stuck, and I can’t get out of the place I find myself. If it’s a bad situation, I don’t always realize that I shouldn’t leave. Or, I get over-involved in a problem that doesn’t even belong to me. I shouldn’t stay but I stay. Luckily, Jesus bails me out when I ask Him for help. He shows me what’s mine and what isn’t. He shows me the way out of what I’m knee deep in. Even if I’m over my head in the mire, Jesus pulls me right out. When I can’t open the door, He can.

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