There are many schools of thought on the topic of Christian spiritual growth, but for simplicity's sake I will share from a book entitled Invitation to a Journey by M. Robert Mulholland. In chapter 8 of his book he describes the "Classical Christian Pilgrimage" as having four stages. Check them out to see where you fit:
I will paraphrase by saying this is the stage where we begin to awaken to God's call to wholeness. It can happen over time or suddenly. It can be a mountain top experience or hardly noticeable, it is when we begin to recognize that God is something far more than we thought, and we are invited into a new way of being. We have come to a threshold of some sort and there is the need of a response. Most of us are ambivalent about waking up, because even though we feel an invitation to something that is awesome, there is still something inside of us that resists the call.
Mulholland states this second stage is "the process of bringing our behavior, our attitudes, our desires into increasing harmony with our growing perception of what the Christlike life is all about." This is when we make our best attempts of renouncing known and unknown "sins", identify and release strongholds and come into a more trusting relationship with God.
The third stage - illumination - is my favorite. This stage is characterized by a number of things, but the biggest shift is going from seeing God as " out there" to a true experience of God present deep within our being. Sure we all know that the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, but this stage goes beyond head knowledge to an actual heartfelt ongoing experience of His presence inside of us, which is difficult to describe using our language.
The final stage of the Christian pilgrimage according to Mulholland is union. This is the stage that the desert mother's and father's as well as some early mystics were able to experience. Other words for this would be, ecstasy, spiritual marriage, etc. There is a total abandonment to the grace of God, because at this point we know we cannot get here by our own efforts, that it is truly a gift from God. This is where we mostly resemble our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in
These stages don't happen in a vacuum, we weave in and out of them for many decades on this pilgrimage of conforming to the image of Christ.
So again I say- which stage are you?