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Catholic Spiritual Growth - a Beginner's Guide

Updated on November 14, 2013

It's Hard Being a Freshman at My Age

How do you get started growing in your Catholic faith? What common mistakes and traps do you need to avoid? This article will tell you what you need to know.

Starting anything new is difficult. It's never fun to be a Freshman. But you especially don't want to feel like a freshman when you've been at something for a long time. That's how many lifelong Catholics feel about spiritual growth. You've been a Catholic all your life, but when it comes to actually living your faith you suddenly feel like an inexperienced amateur. How do you get started without falling into the freshman mistakes and traps? This article will guide you through the rough parts of being a beginner and get you on your way.

Some Problems Beginners Face

You've decided it's time to take your relationship with God seriously. You've decided to make some improvements in your character and in your relationships. But almost as soon as you make that choice, you run into a brick wall. The first thing you realize is that you don't have enough time to do everything you need to do to grow in your faith. Pray every day? Read the Bible? Get involved in the parish? Serve in the community? Yeah, right. Just when am I supposed to do all that? The good news here is that part of a good spiritual growth plan will teach you how to find balance in your life and take control of your time. Make this your first priority.

Once you figure out how to focus your time you run into a more interesting problem. There is just so much to do! Most of us have so far to go to really living as disciples of Christ (including me, by the way) that it can quickly become overwhelming. View your spiritual growth as an ongoing project. Take it one step at a time and trust that the Holy Spirit will put the wind in your sails as a blessing on your efforts.

Common Mistakes & Traps

One common mistake that beginners to spiritual growth make is taking on too much at once. This is an easy way to become overwhelmed. To avoid this mistake, you have to find the right balance. You want to work on various areas of your spiritual life together so that your growth in one area supports the other areas of spirituality. Yet, you don't want to tackle everything at once. Balance is the key.

A very common trap that beginners fall into is the playing the "I'm not as good" game. It's easy to look around and see other Catholics that seem so much further down the spiritual path than you are. You start comparing yourself to them and quickly become discouraged. Don't fall for this trap! Yes, we're supposed to compare ourselves to the saints. But the purpose in doing so is to gain confidence that God will give us the grace we need to become holy just as he did them. It's not a competition.

Getting Started

So how do you get started? Most beginners skip the important first step - making a plan for spiritual growth. Without a plan you will be blowing in the wind. Here are some tips for making a solid spiritual growth plan:

  • Get control of your time first so you can focus on your spiritual growth without distraction
  • Start easy, develop good habits, then tackle the more advanced or difficult
  • Choose to work on 3 areas of spiritual growth that complement and support each other
  • Create a concrete plan of specific actions

Your Plan for Catholic Spiritual Growth

So write out a plan for your first steps of spiritual growth and get started now! There's no reason to wait.

If you get stuck, or even if you just want a little more guidance, check out the free video series "The Keys to Spiritual Growth." This series will introduce you to five areas of spiritual growth that you will want to focus on to deepen your walk with Jesus. But more than an educational series, it's an introduction to a discipleship program that gives you the accountability and the support that you need to really make changes. Go check it out at!

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