Now is the time more than ever to focus on your relationship with God. Personally, that’s the only thing I have the bandwidth to focus on. Pandemic. Shmandemic. Fighting for our right to not be killed and equal treatment. It’s incredibly draining in addition to being uncertain. Like, when should we go back outside? Regardless, it leaves me on edge daily to be frank. But God.
I’m intentionally saying spiritual practice because I’m focused on getting your spirit together. I say practice because it needs to be daily. It can’t be something you do every now and again to be effective.
Here are a few things I do:
- Journal – This is my therapy. Every morning, I pour out everything on my mind and in my heart and sometimes, every night depending on how heavy the day is. It’s freeing. As someone who deals with self-prescribed anxiety, I have to get all of my thoughts out so I don’t carry them into the next day or my sleep. And it helps to see stuff on paper. Most of the time, I write down thoughts and problems and move on. But just leaving it circling in my mind is dangerous and leaves me on edge. Plus, writing is my gift and connects me with God.
- Meditate – I don’t do this as often as I should but I as of late, I’ve been being more intentional about taking a moment to breathe, even if it’s just me taking the minute when my Apple watch prompts me. The thing about meditation is that you can literally feel it throughout your entire body. I tend to carry a lot of stress and tension especially in my shoulders and meditation allows me to not only slow down and breathe but to release everything in my body. It calms my mind and improves my breathing. It slows me down and helps me regain my focus. It also helps me reconnect with God and my spirit. It centers me. I enjoy Headspace but I’m cheap so I only use the free version. I also LOVE the Calm app and Meditation Minis on Apple podcasts. I recently discovered this one on YouTube and it’s specifically geared towards Christians. Also, if you’re feeling like a big girl/boy, consider creating your own chant for your meditation practice. Which brings me to my next suggestion…
- Read Your Bible – The Bible is filled with timeless wisdom. I’m currently making my way though the book of Proverbs and I’m enjoying learning about the mind of God. Consider picking a scripture every week and reading it for seven days. Really spend time meditating and praying on it, asking God how you can apply it to your life or asking God to reveal the meaning behind it. Having scripture at forefront of your mind is a good tool when going into prayer which I learned in Fervent. Knowing God’s word and his promises keep you centered and grounded. It also feeds your spirit. It renews you and keeps your eyes and heart of God.
- Pray all day, err day – This is hard but absolutely necessary. The enemy looks for little pockets to sneak in and disrupt your life. It’s the moments where we’re most vulnerable that he increases our anxieties, causes tension between us and the people we love, makes us think that God has forgotten about us. And what a horrific thought that is to think that One who love us most doesn’t have us at the forefront of His mind. This is why we have to pray. Set timers throughout the day, reminding yourself to pray. And it doesn’t have to be a long prayer. It can be as simple as “Thank you God for your loving grace and kindness and for keeping me close to you. Amen.” Now if the moment calls for it, by all means, go into your prayer closet. But just small prayers through everything can go a long way. And prayer isn’t for God; it’s for you. Pray about everything. Worry about nothing. It’s a reminder that God is in control and once it becomes your go-to, you’ll see a change in you.
- Find A Spiritual Leader – I have so many spiritually mature folks I follow. Only a fool counsels himself. Reading the Bible is excellent. Prayer is wonderful. But we all need a Sheppard. I know everyone isn’t a fan of church and I get it. But Deepak Chopra isn’t a preacher and neither is Gary Zukav. You don’t have all the answers, Sway. And neither do they. But it’s so important to learn from other people, more spiritually mature folks who’ve lived and experienced more life than we have. I also follow Bishop TD Jakes, Joel Osteen and Mike Todd. I read Gabrielle Bernstein and will buy anyone any book by Judah Smith. Don’t even get me started on Rick Warren. All of them have taught me so much about life, love, myself and God.
- Praise – This is a little bonus I’m throwing in. Most days, I don’t feel like praying or journaling, especially when the pandemic first started. It felts like a task instead of freeing and therapeutic. But I once heard a wise person say, “when you don’t feel like praying is when you need to praise the most.” That’s a sure sign of the enemy tricking you into believing your prayers don’t matter or are unnecessary. But those feelings aren’t real. Turn on some praise and worship music. It’s a surefire way to turn your mood around and turns the focus to God and God’s goodness and favor and mercy. That feeling of not wanting to pray isn’t real. It’s a tactic used to push you away from God. Combat it with your hands lifted and surrender.
Also, set some spiritual goals. What is something you would like to accomplish spiritually? Maybe it’s simply journaling daily or getting better at getting your anger in check. Getting closer to God is one thing but you should also be transforming and renewing your mind.
What are some of your spiritual practices that you would add to this list?