Howdy! I hope this post finds you well. ❤️
As it has been a while since I’ve posted about spirituality . . . and as I will soon be posting several posts about hair care . . . I thought I’d FIRST throw in an update about how I’m progressing in the spirituality category so that it isn’t placed on the back burner. 😉
How Have You Been, Spiritually-speaking?
Like most everyone, this year I’ve made spiritual progress and I’ve also had spiritual struggles. I think my biggest spiritual achievements thus far this year have been:
- balancing studying with worshipping (in the past I’ve tended to neglect worshipping),
- addressing challenging religious and spiritual concepts via reading and discussion and prayer, and
- helping others overcome disbelief and/or disengagement
I think my biggest spiritual challenges this year have been worry, fear, discouragement, and theological upheaval.
What Has Probably Helped the Most
What’s probably helped me most is a post that populated my Instagram feed. (I have very purposely followed scores of healthy, positive, encouraging Instagram accounts so that visiting my Instagram feed is like medicine to my soul.) A post popped up in my Instagram feed that said something to this effect:
If you understand that this challenging stretch is a SEASON (and not a forever situation), then this season you can focus your energy on doing what’s best to usher in and prepare for the next season.
I can tend to MOURN when I’m going through something really tough, as though it’s never going to end. If the enemy can have me dwelling in THAT headspace, I can be rendered very ineffective, depressed, etc. That’s what made that Instagram so powerful for me: It gave me something to DO with this challenging season in a way that CONSTANTLY tells me “We’ll be moving to the next season. Get ready! Get excited!” That’s powerful, because it’s ACTION plus hope and encouragement. It has allowed me to catch my breath, hang on, be grateful for momentum and for what’s to come, etc.
Actions, Scripture, and Music
Regarding the “theological upheaval” I mentioned, I think it’s unavoidable because I think it stems from being honest as questions arise and from being unafraid to examine old beliefs and new thoughts. I’ve observed that some Christians can’t tolerate a severe, honest examination of their beliefs, faith, hope, and trust. I’ve known some people to get very dishonest with themselves or others about theological or spiritual questions or concerns that arise. I believe that God’s got us as we grapple with such deep and important topics (Phil. 1:6; Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Peter 3:15; etc.). I find that prayer, scripture, sermon-hearing, worship, and meditating are key. Below are some ACTIONS that have helped me:
- I talk with God about it and pray for right thinking;
- I frequently revisit scriptures such as John 10:28, Mark 9:24, and Philippians 1:6;
- I listen to faith-growing and hope-instilling sermons on the car radio (NOTE: I spend a lot of time transporting the kiddos, and I’ve had to learn to listen to less political news and more Good News while I’m in the car);
- I practice sitting for minutes at a time, breathing in and out, practicing Philippians 4:8, I Thessalonians 5:18, Psalm 23, Psalm 37, Matthew 6:33, etc.; and
- I design and listen to song playlists that strengthen my faith, and here are just a few of such songs (links open up the YouTube video of the song):
- God I Look to You by Bethel Music
- Better Word by Leland (this one is so healing for me)
- Battle Belongs by Phil Wickham
- Dear God by Cory Asbury
- Have My Heart by Maverick City (stunning!)
- Make Room by Community Music (this one has been very important to my faith)
- Communion by Maverick City (a second one that has been very important to my faith)
- God Is Good by Jonathan McReynolds (beautiful, helpful mentality)
- Patient by Apollo LTD
- Just Like God by Evvie McKinney (I use her attitude as a model; she’s VERY positive and grateful)
- Champion by Bethel Music & Dante Bowe (triumphant!)
- Love God Love People by Danny Gokey
One important thing I’ve learned is to NOT turn these practices into a chore or job or rule, as I believe that legalism kills peace and diminishes relationship with God. Instead, I am open to promptings from the Holy Spirit dwelling within me regarding when to rest from spiritual practices and engage in them. I think of it this way: God gives His children the great privilege of being sons and daughters as opposed to slaves (Galatians 4:7). I don’t want to act slavish about prayer, worship, meditating, or any of it. Due to some of the legalism I grew up in, it’s sometimes hard for me to remember to carry myself like a daughter and not a slave who needs to fear. Listening to great sermons and great music REALLY help.
I could go on about books I’m reading, specific sermons I repeatedly return to, the app via which I’m reading through the bible in a year, etc. I’ll stop here, but if you have encouragement, tips, advice, questions, etc., please feel free to let me know. 🥰
As ALWAYS, thank you so much for visiting this blog. See you next post! Until then, many, many blessings!