Opinion: Spiritual poverty

by Yvette Ratshikhopha
Consulting Strategist | Entrepreneur | Thought Leader | Life Coach | EA Contributor
Yvette, an avid reader and nature adventurer. She is a life coach and NLP practitioner based in Johannesburg. She’s held multiple workshops and has one-on-one sessions with the objective of helping others become the best version of themselves. Here is what she had to say about a different kind of poverty:

Just the other day I was listening to an audio by Steve Biko from the book “I write what I like”. In it, Steve Biko touched on spiritual poverty and defined it as having lost the will and desire to fight for a better life. He was relating all this to black people during the Apartheid times and it had me thinking about how many of us suffer from this kind of poverty. How many of us have acquired wealth regardless of our race but we remain spiritually poor?

That was a long intro, but hopefully by now I have caught your attention. In the book “Conversations with God”, Neale Donald Walsch broke down the word ‘inspiration’ saying it came from ‘in spirit’. He expanded further on this by saying inspiration was something that came from the spirit, from deep within, and without it we survive and carry on without a zeal for life and without purpose.

“Material want is bad enough, but coupled with spiritual poverty it kills.”
– Steve Biko

Many of us suffer from spiritual poverty. We stay in unfulfilling jobs, we stay in unhappy relationships, we accept the way things are in our communities because ‘well that’s how it’s always been’. We settle because we lack faith and, on some level, do not believe that we can have what we want. That is the essence of spiritual poverty: it runs on the currency of lacking faith.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
– Hebrews 11:1

This is an excerpt from the Christian bible and I think it clearly defines what faith is: working for something you have not seen. Winnie Mandela must have had a vision for a better South Africa when she endured torture from the Apartheid government, she must have tasted it, felt
it, and smelt it as though it was within her grasp already.

The same goes with you if you are in an unfulfilling job or if you are working towards a degree, or you simply just want to have a healthy family and loving relationship, in order for you to remain inspired (in spirit) you have to see, taste, and feel the outcome that you want as if you already have it. You have to have faith.

So how do you kill spiritual poverty?

First have faith.

Then know your why. Why do you want what you want? What are the benefits of fighting for this thing that you desire? Will it give you peace? Will it allow a better future for your family? Will it make you happy? Will it give you freedom and independence? Why do you want it?

Lastly, kill all the fear. Remaining “in spirit” will require bravery and fearlessness. Lose the fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of not being good enough. Faith and fear are opposites and cannot co-exist. To remain inspired we have to lose the fear of the unknown and rather have faith in what we know we will have someday.

That is the solution to spiritual poverty and being able to move forward with inspiration and knowing that you can have everything you desire. But most importantly, you’ll know that you are worthy of a better, more fulfilling life.

“The greatest empowerment comes through knowing your purpose and dedicating each day to fulfilling it.”
– Yvette R