We find ourselves in a season where ‘normal life’ has dramatically changed. As we watch the progression of the novel coronavirus, in our community and around the world, we are learning how to keep ourselves and others physically safe as we attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
In these challenging days, we know how important hand-washing and social distancing are for physical well-being, but we must also pay attention to our spiritual well-being. Here are three simple practices to help care for your soul; to keep your spirit grounded and your heart open in a time of social distancing.
Breath Prayer –
When anxiety hits or fear tries to set in, when the latest news update or social media post sends your mind racing to unhelpful places, break the cycle of those thoughts by practicing a simple breath prayer. A breath prayer focuses on your breathing and invites God into your thoughts. For example, as you inhale you can pray the beginning of Psalm 46:10, “Be still…” As you exhale, complete the verse in prayer, “… and know that I am God.” Repeat this very simple prayer with each breath. Continue until your body and mind are both in a better state.
Be still, and know that I am God. – Psalm 46:10
Slow, deep breathing helps to calm your body. Your mind can only focus on one thing at a time, so as you focus your attention on the simple words of Psalm 46:10, other thoughts are kept at bay. Most importantly, as you pray this verse over and over again, you invite God into those thoughts and situations that are troubling you.
Gratitude Journal –
Start each day by writing down three things for which you are grateful. They can be big – like test results that all is well, or small – like someone did the dishes without having to be asked, but be specific. Offer thanks for those on the front lines of this pandemic – healthcare workers, first responders, counselors, store clerks, truck drivers, food delivery persons – and pray for them and their safety.
If you begin to get aggravated during the day because of restrictions or what other people are or are not doing, return to your journal and write down three more things you are grateful for.
We are in a time when so much feels out of control. Gratitude helps us to maintain perspective and to remind ourselves of the many ways that God provides for us.
PAUSE is the name we have given to FBC’s version of the Daily Office, an ancient Christian practice of “praying the hours” or praying at certain times of the day. The purpose of the daily office is to be reminded that all time is sacred and that our lives are meant to be structured around God, as opposed to squeezing God into the scattered moments of our lives.
Many of us struggle with the busy, fragmented nature of life today. ‘Hurry sickness’ has diluted our spiritual journey, diminished all sense of rhythm in our lives and left us exhausted! God wants so much more for us!
In this time of significant disruption, it is even more important to practice a Daily Pause; to be reminded that, no matter what is going on around us, our lives are centered and secure in Christ. Practicing the Pause will help you to:
- Anchor your life in God
- Listen for God amid all the clamoring voices in your world
- Be aware of God’s presence in your daily life
- Discern God’s guidance in the decisions that you make