Faith is not always a constant experience, even for people who love God and their church. It is normal for the strength of your faith to ebb and flow, and it doesn't always have to be a catastrophic experience that triggers moments of doubt. In fact, it is often a time when nothing seems to be terribly wrong that your practice may feel more like going through the motions than a spiritually fulfilling experience. One thing that may help you start to enjoy your faith journey again is getting back to the basics of your favorite practices.
Meditation has many benefits. It can reduce stress, which means it may ease the symptoms of some physical ailments that are related to high levels of stress as well. It can also give your spiritual life a boost. Simply taking time out of each day to pause and clear your mind of all your worries can remind you of the peace that you seek through your religion. No matter what your particular faith happens to be, it likely includes some element of meditation.
While meditation may function as the listening portion of your conversation with the divine, prayer is a chance for you to speak and be heard. In this way, prayer and meditation work together. Some prayers take the form of mantras that you repeat, either to help regulate breathing or affirm truths about God, yourself or the universe. Some prayers are liturgical, providing a script for your petition that is enriched by the wisdom of those who have come before you. However you choose to pray, setting aside specific time to do so may help you have a deeper experience of your faith.
Looking at your life through the lens of your spiritual beliefs is another way to enliven your daily practice. The simplest and most common form of reflection is found in journaling. Your journal can be a structured list of the things for which you are grateful, or you can take a more freeform approach, jotting down your thoughts about the day every night. It may even be helpful to read scripture, books on faith or other sacred texts and write down your response to your daily reading.
Sometimes you need a break. Just as a vacation from work can help you return more motivated to do a good job, a spiritual retreat can take you out of the endless stream of committee meetings and volunteer responsibilities to make space for enlightenment. You may choose to go to a certain location, or you can attend a formal retreat with others in your church. A retreat at home can be just as effective, though. The location isn't the important part. The decision to take a few days to turn off your phone and take a break from social media so that you can rest and hear from God is the key to your retreat's success.
Many people who are in a spiritual rut get there because they are bored with their faith. When this happens, exploring your creativity may be just the solution you need. Making art, playing music or writing poetry can spark curiosity and excitement, reminding you why you fell in love with your faith to begin with. Even if you don't consider yourself a creative person, there is probably something you do that ignites one of your passions:
- Trying a new recipe
- Redecorating a space in your home
- Knitting or sewing
- Building something
Seasons when you feel less excited about your religion are normal, but you don't have to stay there. When you are ready to get out of a spiritual rut, going back to the basics that began your walk of faith is a good place to start.