Just as there's no magic "exercise and diet pill" there's no simple formula for our spiritual growth. Whether we're looking for a way out of the spiritual desert or wanting to go deeper in our faith, we'll grow when we engage in two things: disciplines and devotion. The spiritual disciplines (prayer, Bible study, meditation, and fasting) along with devotion for God bring fruit.

Sometimes we get caught up in the doing for God and end up wondering why we're stuck in the desert spiritually. I love reading some of the old Christian devotional classics written several hundred years ago or more where this true devotion, applying attention, time, or oneself completely, is assumed.

One thing that has stuck with me in thinking about what I want my own spiritual devotion to be... a white-hot love of God. I've learned that the "doing" for God will take care of itself, and I can find my way out of occasional deserts or dryness (and who hasn't struggled with that?), when I focus on this white-hot devotion, some discipline, and my entire life as an act of worship!

Another big spiritual paradigm shift for me was what I call the receiver principle. I've struggled with the "giving from nothing" quandary: How can I give when I have nothing left? God eventually showed me in His word that my thinking was wrong. I am called to give to others, but I had a depleted "giver" mentality. "I'm a woman, a mother, therefore I'm a giver," I thought.

Instead, I saw that I am a receiver. I'm a receiver because of all that God has given me. And he has the capacity to give to overflowing in my life. It's from this overflow that I give to others. I still have times when I feel depleted, but I'm no longer caught in a desparate giving from nothing cycle. Changing my thinking to "I'm a receiver" has changed me!

Q: You recommend a "personal growth makeover." What does that entail?

A: When we look at all the areas of our life where we want to grow it can be downright intimidating and overwhelming! So, a personal growth make-over means we begin like the old instructions for eating an elephant... one bite at a time.

Start the make-over by praying; asking God to show you the areas of your life where God wants you to focus on growing. Second, think through areas where you want to grow and write them down. I give a whole checklist in If Mama Goes South. Maybe it's a good habit you'd like to start, a thinking pattern you'd like to change, a skill you'd like to acquire, a talent you'd like to develop, a health improvement, a spiritual discipline or increase in worship, an intellectual endeavor, or growing by nourishing your soul in some way.

Ask yourself what fills your cup. Who'd God make you to be? Take your list and try to make some measurable, specific goals and balance the growth efforts among the three parts of your makeup-spirit, body, and soul. Then pick one thing you want to grow in and begin!

We only want to go south if it's Aruba!

Click here to read an excerpt of If Mama Goes South, We're All Going with Her