What's saving my life right now: Part 3 (Faith)
This is the third post in a series, "What's Saving My Life Right Now."
If I'm being completely honest (and I try to be), talking about faith in conjunction with running a business can be difficult. It's tempting to steer clear of the topic altogether, in fear of offending someone or even potentially losing a client (or potential client) as a result. But for me, my faith is woven so tightly into every aspect of my business that it's impossible to separate. I mean, the entire is business IS named after a scripture reference (Joshua 1:9). And plus, it's my business and I can do whatever I want, right? :)
So week three of this series brings me to "What's Saving My Life Right Now - Faith." This one was a little more difficult for me to write and narrow down because I find so many areas of my life overlap with faith. For instance, next week's topic is Personal Growth and many of the things on this list could also be there. I could have included some of the fitness information in faith, as well. So just hang on with me and understand the category is not as important as the process of identifying what's really working!
1. Keeping a prayer and gratitude journal. A few years ago, I took an entire year and followed Ann Voskamp's method of documenting 1,000 gifts. By writing just three things each day (and giving myself some grace to miss a few), I filled a book and a half of the seemingly small and insignificant things for which I was thankful. This exercise profoundly changed how I approached my day (and my time of reflection each night) and became a practice I would strive to emulate for years to come. While I am not in this habit right now, I am still intentional about keeping a gratitude journal. These days it looks a little less rigid (hello grace) and more like a mix of prayers, gratitude, and reflection. For me, it has been essential that I stop to give thanks before I ask. Sometimes that doesn't quite translate into getting it in written form but it still creates a mindset that prepares for me for prayer.
2. Spotify Playlists focused on worship. When I'm working during the day, I almost always listen to instrumental music on Spotify. I find it difficult to listen to anything with words while I'm trying to write or working with any kind of content. But I've been slowly trying to incorporate some worship music into my day, every day. I've found this small little shift improves my mood and gets me in conversation with God more often. If I can't listen while I'm working, I'll turn it on while cooking dinner, cleaning or getting ready in the morning.
3. Listening to podcasts that stretch me. I confess. I'm a podcast junkie. I hardly ever turn on the radio in the car anymore. I find every second I can to listen to podcasts. Although I love to read, I find I'm more likely to listen to episodes that stretch me (intellectually and spiritually) than I am to read books in those areas. In the last year, I've learned so much from being intentional about listening to podcasts that might zero in on topics I'm uncomfortable with (meaning areas where I need to grow or my viewpoint is vastly different from theirs). But in doing so, I feel like a new world has been opened to me, and I'm slowly finding ways to use that new knowledge in conversation with the community around me. Some of my favorites are:
That Sounds Fun with Annie F. Downs
For the Love with Jen Hatmaker
The Next Right Thing with Emily P. Freeman
This American Life (great for topics that offer viewpoints / experiences outside of modern Christianity)
Focus on the Family (Marriage and Parenting shows)
The Shauna Niequist Podcast
4. Weekly worship with other believers & intentional relationship building with community. I'm always a little sad when I hear the statistics of how fewer and fewer people are attending church. And I know "Church" can mean many different things to many different people. I've never been in the camp where I believed going to church = some favorited status with God. But, I notice a profound difference in my own walk when I'm not hearing God's word regularly and in community with like-minded believers. For me, that means worshipping at North Parkersburg Baptist and being a part of a small group.
5. Learning to accept God's grace and give it freely. For years, I held myself to a standard that I clearly couldn't live up to and I assumed everyone else held me to that standard as well. Only in the last few years have I began to truly understand the power of grace - both given and received. By practicing this daily (and trust me, failing along the way), my life has slowly begun to look different. For example, I could have read a blog post like this a few years ago and immediately made a list of all things I should be doing, because, clearly the blogger's way was best. But now...I can take in what I read, listen, and observe and slowly find my own way, understanding that my way of living out my faith is going to look different than someone else's. It's amazing what can happen when you encounter a situation and simply say to yourself: They are doing the best they can with what they know and the tools they have. Grace is a gift and it's beautiful to give and receive.
I hope something in this list might inspire you to think about what's saving your life in your faith right now! Have questions about something I shared? Feel free to leave a comment and start a conversation! I'll wrap this series up next week with "What's Saving My Life Right Now in personal growth."
You might like one of my previous blog posts....