Congrats! You’ve made it through half the year. This is a good time to reevaluate those yearly goals and get on some of those that you’ve been putting off. Most importantly, give yourself grace if you are not where you thought you would be with those goals! Create your plan going forward to make the second half of the year count!
You will probably start doing some hard thinking over your finances, your diet, your career, and other aspects of your life that you want to improve. A big one for me was my self-care. By self-care, I mean purposely and actively taking time for myself to do something that rejuvenates and energizes me.
In previous blogs, I’ve touched on small ways to self-care every day and bigger ways such as my fitness journey I started completely backwards by going from my couch to running a 5K THEN training. My self-care journey has shifted my mindset that self-care is not an indulgence but the core of my well-being. One of the biggest self-care techniques I am learning is spiritual self-care, connecting to a Higher Power and find a meaning for my life.
The older I get, the more spiritual I become – or, if I’m being honest, the more I try to become. I am constantly trying to maintain a balance of practicality and spirituality in my life. It seems every so often I have phases of deep spirituality and then abrupt days, and even weeks, where being caught up in motherhood, a busy career, and the demands of life take over my ability to remain mindful. I am doing my best with learning to be more intentional with my daily spiritual discipline.
Spiritual disciplines are habits, practices, and experiences that are designed to develop, grow, and strengthen certain qualities of your spirit. Putting this into action builds the “muscles” of your spiritual stamina. Everyone is at a different level as far as spiritual stamina but we are all training for victory. When life happens and you have to weather storms and climb mountains (obstacles in life), it requires spiritual stamina.
The “training phase” helps us to connect with that still point within us to deal with all the ups and downs of life with much greater ease. How much have you been “exercising” that muscle this year? Are you strong or weak — in faith? The half year mark is a good time to assess and reset your spiritual stamina to see how much “weight” you can lift.
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.
(1 Peter 4:12)
The “Training Phase”
We “train” three ways to build our spiritual stamina:
Tests- Just like in school, you take a test to apply what you know and what you’ve learned.
God will test us to see if we are actually learning, growing, and advancing in Him/the Word.
God tests us because we don’t know how strong we are and we’ll only realize it when times of testing come. (Like Job)
God tests our faith.
Temptations- When we are tempted, resisting builds our character and obedience. It also produces fruit in us!
Although God test believers, He does not tempt anyone because He is Holy and Perfect. God tests His children to make their faith strong, and Satan tempts them to make it weak. Usually God tests us then here comes Satan trying to tempt us. Think about when God tested Adam and Eve in the garden. He said, “Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and if you do, you will surely die." Then Satan came and tempted them to fail the test.
Remember when God told Abraham and Sarah that they would have a child in their old age. Sarah, with little faith, fell into the trap of temptation. She convinced Abraham to get her maid pregnant because Sarah had little faith that she could actually get pregnant herself. (Genesis 17:18)
In both examples Satan came right after God’s tests, with temptation. Satan’s way may seem more enticing because we want what we want (our own desires), but we have to fight and remain faithful to the Lord. (James 1:14-15)
God always allow a way out of temptation. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Trials- God allows suffering to perfect us.(1 Peter 4:13)
Trials are for the purpose of conforming us to Christ’s image.
In our trials, we learn to rely more on Him and God gets the Glory! (1 Peter 4:16)
Here are some ways you can increase your spiritual stamina to help handle the “weight”:
Build a faith community by attending a church. You may want to find a ministry to join also.
Service- Tithing and Giving.
Worship/Praise- In good times, use it as a reverence and, in the bad, use it as a weapon.
Set up a spiritual space, a physical space to accommodate your spiritual and self-care goals.
Read the Bible daily, even it is just one scripture on the topic of your choice.
Spiritual practice- Set aside a daily time for prayers and meditation.
Start journaling, doing yoga, or any other relaxing activity.
The sad truth is that many of us have allowed our experiences, our test and trials, to break us, to make us bitter, and to give up hope instead of making us stronger and better. Regardless of what has happened before now, we are going to reset together. We are going to connect to our inner spirit so we can awaken to our full potential.
So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. (1 Peter 4:19)