When I first got the nudge to dive deeper in my faith, it was overwhelming. I didn’t know where to start. I would go to Church on Sunday, live a busy life during the week, and then returned to Church the following Sunday.
I wasn’t spending time with God outside of Sunday. I wasn’t praying or reading the Bible. I was running life’s rat race of working, eating, sleeping and doing it all over again. I was the one day a week type of Christian.
I felt the divine presence of God sitting in the pews at Church but didn’t feel God in any other areas of my life. Not until I made God a priority in my life.
Here was the routine I implemented at the beginning of my faith journey:
6:00 am – Wake up and Get Coffee
In the beginning, this early wake up was annoying. The only thing that was getting me out of bed was the fact I could enjoy a nice warm cup of coffee. Eventually, I bounced out of bed excited about my meeting with God.
6:10 am – Conversation with God
With coffee in hand, I made my way to the couch. Wrapping myself in a blanket, this is where I would speak to God. It was weird at first speaking out loud with no one actually there, but I did it anyway. I addressed God and shared my hopes, dreams, worries, and prayers for others. In the beginning, this part of my routine took only a few minutes. Soon, once I got familiar with the routine and speaking with God, the dedicated time here lengthened.
6:20 am – Read One Verse in the Bible
The Bible App called YouVersion is a free app in the App Store for iOS and Android. I downloaded the App and every morning I would read the “Verse of the Day”. I’d read it a few times and meditate on it. Try and figure out what the verse could be saying about God in my life. Sometimes I’d relate to the verse, other times it meant nothing, but I continued to do this daily.
6:30 am – Get ready for work.
When I started this routine, I’d see 6:30, and immediately pack up and get ready. As weeks went by, I found myself not wanting to end my meeting with God. I still had so much more to say, so much more to explore with God. Soon, I realizing how much I valued this morning routine. It became and still is a sacred time for me.
I followed this 30-minute routine 7 days a week. It didn’t take long to see changes in my life. Eventually, I started to wake up earlier just to have more time with God. (I now wake up at 5:00 am – but I have also added more to my routine!)
Once I made it a priority to connect with God daily – that’s when I started to feel God’s presence – everywhere. God would show up in the mornings during coffee, in the car during my commute, and during the day at work. It became so surreal that I actually started to make a note when God appeared in my life.
It was like some spiritual force was trying to communicate with me, and I was learning to communicate back. Sometimes all I could do is laugh out loud in awe.
I know you’re likely reading this and thinking, this is crazy. But don’t knock it until you try it.
Make it a priority. Willowcreek.org calls it “15 minutes of Chair Time with God”. I am 100% in agreement with this idea. Set up a meeting in your calendar – a meeting you cannot cancel – and show up and speak to God.
I challenge you to create the space needed to connect with the Divine.
Be open, watch and listen.
As a baptized Catholic and practicing Anglican, Lent is a season I look forward to every year.
If you are unfamiliar with Lent, it’s a 40-day period leading up to Easter Sunday. It begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for six weeks. The 40 days is symbolic of when Jesus went out into the desert to fast and pray before starting his ministry.
This time we spend taking part in Lent should be a time of prayer, penance, repentance, and abstinence. Symbolic of Jesus’ time in the desert.
This is where I typically lose people. These words seem to rub people the wrong way. Particularly the last three words: penance, repentance, and abstinence. And rightly so, because the definition of these three words is quite harsh.
Let me share with you how these three words relate to today’s landscape. More importantly, how spending time in these areas of your life will prove to be beneficial.
I see penance as a self-examination of myself and my behavior. I know I’m not perfect, and I make mistakes. Spending time in introspection allows me to examine who I am as a wife, a sibling, a daughter and a friend. Am I happy with my behavior? If I’m not happy, what can I do to improve and show the people around me more love?
This means recognizing something in your life that may not be aligned with your true self. Once you realize it – you then make the decision to turn away from this way of life. This could be as simple as a behavior you know you shouldn’t continue doing. A good example is something called triangulation. This is when you are having an issue with someone and you talk about it with somebody else. This is basically gossip and usually magnifies the problem and can become very toxic.
When I was young, I would observe Lent with my grandmother. We would give up foods we loved. Popcorn, soft drink, chocolate. Whatever we loved as we wanted it to be a sacrifice to show God our love. As an adult, this word represents something different for me. I ask myself – what things in my life am I dependent on? What are things in my life taking me away from my goals rather than moving me forward? Television? Social Media? Caffeine? Alcohol? Should I stop consuming one or more of these things? Will it improve the quality of my life and move me closer to my goals? Usually, the answer to this is Yes – which means I should consider abstaining for a while. Take control of my life again.
Looking at these three words with a different lens – doesn’t it make you look forward to the self-improvement? Penance encourages self-examination. Repentance shows you how to turn away from something toxic. Abstinence gives you control back from something that has been consuming your life.
You don’t have to wait for Lent to spend time in these areas of your life. Do it when you’re ready. Review and ponder what is holding you back from living the life you crave. A life of peace and happiness. A life of purpose.
My parents are not religious at all, and when I asked my mother why she baptized me, she said it was the right thing to do. Both being in their early twenties, the Catholic tradition offered guidance as they raised their children.
Growing up attending a Catholic elementary school opened the doors to a life of faith. I have both fond and not so fond memories. During my teenage years, I didn’t think I needed a religion and attended a public high school.
The importance of God became less and less in my life.
After finishing university and beginning the first stages of adult life – reality hit.
Life was hard. Relationships were hard. I was having a hard time dealing. Life was spiraling out of control. I was making the wrong choices and before I realized it I was full of shame and disappointment.
Then people started dying. Five people in my life died in a 2 year period. For a variety of reasons, from young to old. In my mind and in my heart I knew there had to be a higher purpose of living on this earth.
And that’s how my journey to faith as an adult began. I questioned the purpose of life – questioned Christianity – questioned everything.
I’m not a theologist, but I do have experience losing faith, having doubts and finding faith again. I’ve experienced something supernatural that proved to me there is a God. A God who loves us unconditionally.
Over the last few years, I’ve had friends ask me how I apply my faith to my everyday life. Sometimes its hard to share verbally, so I’ve chosen to write it down instead.
My hope is through this blog, I will able to share my process of how I got to where I am today in my faith. I will offer resources, ideas, suggestions for you to try in your life.
My journey toward faith is changing daily. As I dive into scripture and meditate, I’m learning more about this a divine power. Yes, this divine power we have access to – we just need to learn how to connect with it.