Spirit Driving Institute Leila Johnson – Transformation Teacher


Have You “Gotten Lost”?

I was watching Joel Osteen's Sunday service this week with my family like we do on most Sunday mornings. The message title was "#533, Go After the Prodigals" and focused on bringing back those who have "gotten lost" and are no longer going to church. I'm usually tuned into his messages of prosperity and abundance, but this one rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe because I felt like he was talking to me and I disagreed!

You see, I used to be an avid churchgoer. I went through a good part of my teenage years proselytizing and witnessing to others about the word of God. I'll spare you the details, but somewhere along the line I decided to take a different, more spiritual path not connected to a particular religion. I think of myself as a freelancer when it comes to religion, taking philosophies and approaches from different beliefs in order to shape my world.

When I listened to Joel Osteen's message about bringing people back to the church with a vengeance (he playfully used the term "sic 'em"), it reminded me of the times that I used to think that was the right thing to do. Usually after watching his sermons, I have a new resolve to move forward on something in my life. This Sunday felt different. Then, today, one of my friends posted a quote from the Dalai Lama on her Facebook page: "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost." This REALLY resonated with me.

We are all on different paths. We have career paths, family paths, romantic paths, friend paths, money paths, political paths, and religion paths. Would you tell someone who shows no interest in having kids that they absolutely MUST have children just because you do? Then, why is it that some of us feel so compelled to push our religion path? Who am I to say that any of my paths are the best? It just seems strange considering that we're all different.

Don't get me wrong. Joel Osteen's message overall was about letting people who have fallen away know that you care about them and are there for them. That make sense to me. There are ways to do this without forcing someone to believe the same way that you do.

Sometimes I feel lost, but who doesn't? I don't think going to church guarantees that I won't feel that way. There are other equally valid ways that I handle those feelings of uncertainty. Some of those ways might include listening to some of Joel Osteen's messages. You see, just because I disagree with one of his sermons, I think it would be immature to write him off completely.

For now, I'll continue on my path and share key pieces of it. Not because I'm trying to convince others to believe any particular thing. But because I want to encourage others to think, reflect, and respond in a way that is appropriate for them.

About Leila Johnson

Rev. Leila Johnson's book, Driving to Success: Let Your Spirit Take the Wheel, is a spiritual retreat for overachieving entrepreneurs and professionals who want to redefine the answer to "What do you want to be when you grow up?". Leila is President and Co-Owner of Data-Scribe, an information technology systems integration and modernization firm providing services to businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. As part of her journey on the road of life, Leila has earned her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and in the Metaphysical Sciences. She also holds her Master of Divinity and is an ordained reverend. Prior to starting her business, Leila worked as a call center coach, curriculum developer, and trainer in the financial and insurance industries.