Some people will easily say, “I am spiritual.” They have a strong sense of spirit and the spiritual, the intangible, the mystical, the shimmering of the holy around them. Other people wonder if they are “spiritual” at all. The mystical and intangible does not resonate. They feel they’re more “practical”.
The truth is that we are all spiritual. We all look for purpose and meaning in life. We all have feelings and experience emotions. We are all the integration of body, mind, and spirit. But what is our spiritual type? How is our spirit nourished so that we grow in discipleship?
We know there are different kinds of people. Some of us tend to be more introverted; others of us extraverted. Some of us are more intellectual; others more practical. Some of us make decisions more with our heart; others more with our head. None of these are right or wrong—they just reflect who we are and how we experience the world.
It is the same in our spiritual experience. In a 1995 book entitled “Discover Your Spiritual Type”, author Corinne Ware says, “It is enormously helpful to find our personal style of growing and the ways in which we most clearly hear God. If you are the sort of person who ‘hears in the silence,’ you can seek silence without apology. If, like Brother Lawrence, you learn and grow when your hands are busy serving… you can cultivate active moments…through the sacrament of doing. If you are most moved toward God in the presence of music, you can furnish yourself a rich musical opportunity for worship. If your spirit is stirred by vivid language and new thoughts, you can expose yourself …to those who convey truth through spoken [or written] word.”
A “head” spirituality is just as valid as a “heart” spirituality. Both can be passionate and deeply spiritual. Many people get the “heart” spirituality and can see that as what they think of as “spiritual”. But the “head”, the intellectual experience of spirituality is less familiar and can leave a person wondering if they are really spiritual. It can be a wonderful revelation to discover that there are so many ways to experience the presence of God, to hear God, to grow in faith.
Does quiet open up your heart and soul? Do you feel closest to God when you are caring for another? Do ideas and words excite you and lift you closer to God? Or perhaps it is music, art or dance. And it may be different things at different times or points in our life.
There are ways you can explore this. Corinne Ware’s book mentioned above can be a good starting point (The Alban Institute 1995). There is a simple quiz on The Upper Room website (http://prayer-center.upperroom.org/resources/quiz) which can be a starting place to think about this. Or you might try the one from EpiscoWhat that has quite different questions to consider your spiritual type (http://www.episcowhat.org/ware-spirituality-type-indicator.html).
These are just ways to help you think about this. Finding the way that God speaks most clearly to you, when you feel God most present, can open new doors to truly hearing God’s word for your life and growing in discipleship as a follower of Jesus.