Congruence occurs when there is consistency between what a person feels and says and how he or she acts. I am being incongruent if I say that I will meet you for lunch at 12:00 but show up at 1:00 or if I promise to call you but I never do. Eventually, I find myself moving away from incongruent people even if I really like that person.
I have noticed that being incongruent is taking a toll on me. I get very tired trying to say or do what I think other people are expecting of me. Congruency means that I do not have to present a “mask” to others. It is very freeing and nourishing to operate from a core spiritual center. Unfortunately, those moments are fewer than I would like. I find it interesting that Jesus modeled congruency even as a child. When he was 12, he stayed at Passover in response to a higher calling instead of leaving with his family to return to Bethlehem. He was so focused on his goal that he did not even say anything to his parents about his plans. If my son acted that way, I would be quick to criticize him for not being considerate and at least letting me in advance know what he was going to do. Yet my actions would be spiritually incongruent in that I believe listening and responding God is more important than anything else.
The question arises for me as to how I can become more spiritually congruent. In some ways, spiritual growth is just a movement towards spiritual congruency. For me, moving closer towards “praying without ceasing” would be an example of both spiritual growth and a move towards spiritual congruency.
I find it very hard to be spiritually congruent. If I am honest with myself, my actions are rarely totally aligned with my spiritual beliefs. One of the main reasons for my spiritual incongruency is that my life is filled with distractions that reduce my ability to devote 100% of myself towards my relationship with God. I find that I can grow spiritually by identifying and removing those obstacles from my life. Some would argue that what I do does not matter because only God can “save” me. I lean towards following the saying: “Pray hard, but tie your camel first. “
At this stage in my spiritual journey, I am not yet able to be spiritually congruent regardless of what I am doing. I still have to focus on “tying my camel” before I can pray effectively. Consequently, I am working on identifying and removing distractions that are hindering my spiritual growth. Practicing spiritual congruency is both a spiritual tool and a spiritual goal.