I just took a look at my calendar which told me it’s the 7th of November 2018. That means it is my 18th spiritual birthday, saying I have been half of my life aware of spiritual matters. Since then I have heard many interpretations of the teachings of the Bible in the church as well as during my Bible school time a couple of years ago. Over the years I have also met people from different backgrounds and diverse beliefs. My own personal faith has been forced and encouraged to grow through various circumstances throughout my life. Some phases have been very challenging, and testing, but never have I doubted.
Being part of something bigger
During the last couple of years, I have been experiencing some kind of ”rearrangement” of my thoughts and beliefs about spirituality and how to live a life in faith. My focus has been switching from group-thinking to individual growth. During the first years as a believer, I enjoyed being part of a church, listening to what others, especially the elders, had experienced on their path and getting instructions on how to live my life with God.
However, I have also seen that the kind of structure in some churches and the ”guidance” involved, can be rather restricting than helping the individual to grow. It is not always easy to find your way and calling when somewhat strong opinionated spiritual teachers or church members tell you what to do and what not to do. Sometimes it can be pretty hard to keep on walking your path with God when you know that the majority of the people in your church would not accept the way of life you feel you should live. Some people are very sure about what is the will of God in other peoples lives. Ironically often they aren’t able to see, that God may have chosen a very different way for someone as they had in mind, so their prayers for Gods guidance in that person’s life is just a testimony of them not accepting the path God has provided for that person as well as a lack of faith.
Finding your own way
It is essential for us to feel part of something bigger than yourself, and I do not underrate the meaning of the local churches. But sometimes you just have to remind yourself that in the first place you are responsible to God about how you answer your personal calling and not how submitted you are to the teachings of your church. Growth is a sign of life. Stagnation is a sign of death.
I have come to the point of accepting, that sometimes it is better to leave a place behind if it is not able to support your growth, but rather is restricting it. I do not mean to “throw your hands in the air” and give up every time difficulties arise, and I do not say that you should not be ready to persevere together with your fellow believers through times of hardship. Sometimes we need to make a sacrifice for the common good of the group, which indeed can be simultaneously a way to further personal growth. It is just the compulsive attitude towards some religious teachings some churches and people have, I do not see fitting in the bigger picture of providing spiritual growth neither for the individual nor the group.
So here I am, looking back at 18 years of living a believers life and trying to live it as consciously as possible. I have come to get a more universal picture of faith and spirituality. I can see the part religion is playing in general in humanity as well as in my personal life, although never I have considered myself as being ”religious”. The teachings of Jesus Christ are very dear to me. However, I can feel and see that it is time to go deeper and to separate church, as I know it, from faith. I’ve come to feel more connected to the universal church which includes believers of all religions, as I believe.
One thing which got me totally excited anew about God was the discovering of astrology for myself. Oh, how it speaks to me about our Creator! I love the symbolism of astrology and the ability to see through it the bigger and smaller patterns throughout your life. It is the best tool I know to become aware of different phases in your life, that again providing the possibility to make the best out of every present moment. Through the course of studying astrology, my faith has become more alive again.
A symbol of stability
A birthday is reminding us of the cycle of life. It is the end of a personal year and the beginning of a new one. In modern astrology, it is common to cast a ’solar return chart’ for the next year of your life. This chart is cast for the time the Sun has returned to the exact degree and minute of the sign of the zodiac it was in at the time of your birth. Besides the Sun, there are also other planets and points displayed in a solar return chart, which are usually in different places than in your birth chart. A solar return chart gives you insight on what topics are likely to arise during the next year of your life. Life can change in various ways, and sometimes we can get very surprised about ourselves (and others too!). A solar return chart can tell you about those changes. But despite it’s changing nature, there will always be a constant, some fundamental power in our life. Something never changes.
The Sun is a symbol of the life force, the giver of life. The Sun is light. It is the requirement for any life on this planet. There is no life without light. Therefore throughout time, the Sun has also been a symbol for the creator God himself. The Sun is a very good symbol and a reminder of Gods place in the bigger picture of life.
Specifically in a solar return chart the Sun reminds us of Gods sovereignty – although everything around changes (the other planets and points in the chart), he stays the same (as the Sun in sign, degree and minute) and he is the source of all life, like the Sun is the foundation of which the solar return chart is built upon. Interestingly in astrology, the Sun represents also the core of the native’s identity.
Gods existence is eternal. He is the same today, yesterday, tomorrow, and forever. He does not change. Even if our life is built of ups and downs and we sometimes aren’t living up to our calling – God does not forget us. His promise of guidance still counts. We may discover different facets of God during the cycles of our life what can change our picture of him and what and who we thought God is, but those qualities have always been part of him. It is our perspective only which changes.
Lighting a candle
When I realized this morning that it is my spiritual birthday, I remembered a candle my mother gave me long ago. It was from my grandmother who passed away when I was 11. My mother was supposed to give me the candle on my 18th birthday, but she forgot it, and so I got it some years later.
My grandmother was the only believer in our family. I got to know her three years before she passed away after a failed operation which was inevitable because of the heart disease she had from birth on. I know she had been praying a lot for me and I am sure God heard her prayers. That I got to know her was a miracle since the doctors told her after the first operation she would not live any more than seven, ten years at most. However, she lived for fourteen years after that first operation. Otherwise, I would never have gotten to know her.
I am sure it is no coincidence that I remembered the candle today. Finally lighting it on my 18th birthday in faith. God is good. Life is beautiful.