As we are making commitments to exercise more and make healthier food choices, there is one more area where resolutions can be made. Take some time in 2013 to nurture your spiritual health. When we strengthen our spirit, we find our center, bringing focus, inspiration, and peace.
Spending time in the great outdoors is an effective way to reenergize and center. This time of year, I am particularly fond of walking in the woods during a light snow fall. Have you ever taken the time to stop on these walks and just listen? The faint noise of snowfall makes a beautiful and unique sound. My father frequently encouraged me to stop what I was doing when we were in the woods and “listen to the silence.”
Activities which challenge your mind can also nurture your spirit. Reading a thought provoking book, learning an instrument, or taking the time for daily devotionals are all effective ways to broaden your horizons. For me in particular, singing is a powerful activity. It challenges and centers me. I also enjoy singing in church as it is one of the strongest forms of worship and one way I can give back to my parish. (And to my fellow church members, now that life is returning to normal, I will be rejoining the music schedule soon 🙂
While all of these activities are quite fulfilling, the act that centers me the most is trying my best to attend church each week. Please understand that I am NOT trying to increase membership in my parish (though all our welcome). I am merely sharing why I find weekly church attendance so beneficial. Before I can explain why it’s important, I first must tell you those things I find unpleasant. Usually churches will have a healthy share of church drama and church politics. I have been on the receiving end of this, and honestly, in my weaker moments, I have been the cause of church drama. However, I find looking past those moments to be worthwhile as most churches are full of kind, hard working people who are a pleasure to see each week.
I attempt to attend church each week because it provides a much needed routine. Getting up at the same time each Sunday, following the standards of Mass, and having that weekly time with my church community provides focus, keeping me centered on what I must do each week in my life. My children are also gifted with that same weekly plan and are in regular contact with other young people who share their faith. In addition, weekly church attendance puts me in contact with people who need help. It might be a parishioner who would benefit from ten minutes of conversation after Mass, the notice of someone who is ill and could use a meal, or any individuals who would benefit from a card or phone call. That’s what life is all about, helping those around us.
So in 2013, take some time to nurture your spirit. Explore the nature around you, “listen to the silence,” read a book, join a Bible study, or even start a book group. Two books that have inspired me are “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis and “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge. Or are you looking for more routine in your life? Do you long for more community time? Start looking around for a church community.
Thanks for reading! Happy New Year!