Ten Ways to Recharge Your Faith Life
By Ansley Roan
Does your faith life feel like a TV sitcom in syndication? It's not bad, but it's kind of repetitive and uninspiring? Maybe life is less than satisfying and God, or the Divine, feels more distant.
When you feel stuck in a sluggish afternoon of the soul, click here to discover a few steps that might energize your faith life.
If God or any divine energy seems far away, take a moment to remember a time when you had God's help in the past. Was it a time of family trouble? Illness? Job loss? A moment when you felt an internal nudge to call a friend--and it turned out she needed to hear from you?
When you remember times of divine guidance in the past, you can develop gratitude and look for divine guidance in the present.
Take a Time Out
If a time out works for children, it can work for you. It's not about punishing yourself, it's about pulling away from all the daily distractions, the frustrations, and the tantrum-inducing surroundings you deal with every day.
If you can get away to a relaxing pond, do it. If that's not an option, a few quiet moments to breathe and to be grateful can restore your equilibrium.
Visit A House of Worship
Okay, okay, so the last time you went to church/synagogue/mosque or temple, the spiritual leader was boring/offensive/caught up in a scandal. Don't let someone else's flaws derail your spiritual journey.
Try another house of worship. Remember that you can find divine inspiration in the scripture readings, the hymns, and the chats with congregation members after services.
Hit the Bookstore (or Library)
Every day someone is writing a new inspirational book or a new guide to prayer. You don't have to read all of them or even like them.
Just keep an eye out for something that speaks to you--even if the theme is something like, "How to feel closer to God when you just want to take a nap."
Don't Run From Doubt
Sometimes that "blah" feeling can mask major doubts. Doubts can feel scary, but if you're wrestling with deep questions of faith, that's okay. You're not the first (just check out the biblical book of Job.)
If you have questions, look for answers. Just as exercise strengthens your muscles, the process of searching may strengthen your faith, and chances are you'll discover at least a few helpful hints along the way.
Each faith has its holy books, the places where believers have looked again and again for inspiration, hope, and guidance. These books will have something that speaks to you.
Even if you find answers elsewhere, reading about the struggles that faced the founders of your faith is bound to nurture your own faith journey.
Pray or Meditate
You don't have to pray like a saint or meditate like a guru. Just stop running and chattering long enough to breathe.
If you feel too uninspired to come up with your own prayer, take a look at the prayers or meditations from your faith tradition. You may find that someone centuries ago wrote words that give voice to what you're feeling today.
Talk to Someone
Even Mother Teresa had times when she didn't feel God's presence. (And let's face it, most of us are no Mother Teresa.) Don't bury your doubts and frustrations. Find a friend who'll listen respectfully.
It's probably best not to choose someone who will make fun of you for believing in anything other than a spreadsheet or someone who's going to call you a heretic for asking a question. The simple act of telling someone how you feel may take away a bit of the burden.
It's hard to be grateful when everything seems the same as it ever was. There's no need to deny your feelings, but it's also important to appreciate the good stuff. Start by making a mental list. Write it down and carry it in your wallet for reference.
So where do you start? No surprise--it's with the small stuff like a good cup of coffee. A good morning commute. A friend/sibling/spouse/pet that makes you laugh, at least once in awhile.
Wait for High Tide
Sometimes your faith life just feels like a tidal pool, a bit shallow or still, no matter what you do. Remember high tide will come, and soon you'll be back in the deep water. Just as the seasons change, this season of your faith life will end.
During these times, the most important thing is to keep going, to have enough faith to get to the next day, and to keep your eyes open for something beautiful and surprising. One of these days, the tide is bound to turn.