It’s very common for our spiritual life to swing up and down throughout the year. At times we feel close to God and are breezing through our spiritual practices, and at other times we feel like we’re in a spiritual drought unmotivated to work on our relationship with God. If you’re experiencing the latter, this post is for you. Here are just five of the many ways you can try to strengthen your reignite your spiritual life again.
1. Practice Real Retreating
When was the last time you went on a retreat where real retreating took place? I don’t mean the fun retreats we all love that sometimes get overtaken by socializing. Although socializing is great, it shouldn’t be the main reason for a retreat. A retreat should be used to recharge you spiritually. It allows you to leave your normal routine behind and hyperfocus on God. Focus on hearing the spiritual message of the talks, preparing and partaking of the sacraments, and spending time with God alone. Maybe you’ll have to skip out on some activities or use your free time to spend it in prayer, meditation, and reading. Or you might even want to opt in for a personal retreat all on your own. It's without a doubt worth the effort, you’ll go back home feeling refreshed and recharged again.
2. Get into Reading
Whether you’re an avid reader, or feel like reading isn’t just for you, there is so much value you can gain from reading. I recommend re-reading your favorite book in the Bible and reminiscing where you were in life when you first read it. Pick up a new spiritual book that speaks to you. A few of my favorites starters are Have You Seen the One I Love by Pope Shenouda III, No Greater Love Mother Teresa, and The Way of a Pilgrim. If you’re overwhelmed by large books, then pick a devotional that has a short read everyday. A newly released book titled All That I Have is Yours is a great one that has daily meditations on the life of St. Pope Kyrillos VI. If you’re struggling to find time to read then an audiobook might work for you. Luckily Audible has many great Christian books to choose from.
3. Start Journaling
If you’re feeling stuck in your spiritual life one of the best things you can do is write about it. Writing will help you make sense of your feelings and emotions. Journaling is a wonderful way you can communicate to God in prayer. Journal is also a great way to track your spiritual progress. I have journals that I have kept throughout the years and it’s helpful to look back and see how far I’ve come by the grace of God, or in other instances, how much I still need to go. If you want to know more about the power of journaling, read this blog post that I wrote last year.
4. Spend Quiet Time in Nature
There is nothing like admiring God’s creation and being in awe of His craftsmanship. If you’re a person who likes the great outdoors, then grab your Bible, book, and journal the next time you go on a hike. Sit there and take in the beauty God has created all around you. There is something special about reading God’s word in nature, it’s how I imagine it was passed down for thousands of generations before us, by oral tradition as God’s people traveled from place to place. It's also where I imagine Christ did most of His preaching during his years of ministry, such as His famous sermon on the mount. The weather is wonderful this time of the year to spend outdoors in God’s evident presence.
5. Have Spiritually-Led Conversations
What better way to get closer to God than to make your conversations about Him? We all have a group of friends or even one friend that we’re comfortable enough to talk about anything with. Share with that friend what you’re struggling with. Allow them to be of help. Initiate a discussion about a book or Bible passage that you’re reading. Feed off of each other spiritually. Encourage each other and keep one another accountable. One of my favorite memories from college is when a group of my friends and I would sit down periodically and read and discuss the Bible together or share things from spiritual books we were reading (this is the way I began to build a friendship with my now husband more than a decade ago). It was one of the most edifying things during those challenging college years.
When was the last time you got a little deeper with your friends about God and He’s present in your life? If that's something you don’t typically speak about, then the time to start is now.
Finally, remember to ask God for His grace and help as you try to get closer to Him again. He for sure wants you to come back to him. Sometimes we’re the only ones standing in our own way.