How do I start spiritual practices?

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How do I start spiritual practices?

by Alyssa Robinson

When I start something new, I go a little too hard. If I’m going to start a new exercise routine, I buy all the gear and create an unsustainable workout plan. When I try to eat healthier, I over plan my meals and leave no room for cheats. Trying a new hobby? I’ll spend hours on it every day until I feel like I’ve mastered it. Baby steps just aren’t part of my lifestyle.

And that usually means any new habit that I try to instill crashes and burns in a matter of weeks. If I miss one day of exercise I think I’ve thrown off my entire schedule and I might as well quit. If I eat something I shouldn’t I’ll think, “Well I’ve already messed up today, I might as well eat unhealthy the rest of the day.” I hyperfixate on a hobby, and then I get bored and tired of it.

So when I think about spiritual practices, I do the same thing. I start putting unrealistic expectations on myself. Ok, I’ll start every day by praying for 30 minutes in the morning, then I’ll read my Bible during my lunch break, and I’ll drive home in silence to listen for God. Usually by the 3rd or 4th day of doing this routine I get exhausted by it. Then I get really down on myself that I didn’t stick to the plan.

I go through this cycle over and over again. It’s maddening!

A while ago, I expressed this frustration to a wiser, former church member who I admire, Sheryl Johnston. She is like a mirror of Jesus Christ. She is always the first to serve when anyone is in need, she’s helped us fundraise for missions, she was involved in multiple Bible Studies, and she didn’t miss a Sunday. I told her that I keep trying to do all the things I should as a Christian, pray, read scripture, serve, but I always feel overwhelmed, like it’s never enough.

I was only 26, but she saw the weathered look in my eyes. She smiled, grabbed my hand, and said, “You’re being too hard on yourself. Isn’t God’s grace for you, too?” I felt instantly relieved. It was like being given permission to rest. Then she softly said, “You’re doing great.” And gave me a wink.

That conversation gave me so much peace and that peace continues as I seek a deeper relationship with Christ through spiritual practices. I don’t need to compare myself to anyone else. It’s not about accomplishment or checking boxes off a list. To start spiritual practices all I need to do is be myself, accept God’s grace, and keep my eyes open for opportunities to connect with God.

 

If you haven’t already, take a moment to create your Blueprint for Spiritual Wellness. It may be the first step to grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Denise Robinson and I had a conversation about spiritual practices and how we can grow in the Life + God Podcast. You can listen to the full episode here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Posted by Alyssa Robinson at 7:00 AM
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