Later in life transitions can raise deep questions of identity, values, beliefs and spiritual awakening. The desire for a deeper connection with God calls you to explore within yourself. What do you believe? What are you looking for? Are you fulfilling your life purpose?
Where do you begin?
You may start with a daily practice of reflection. Stillness fosters reflection, listening and gratitude. You can start with something simple, such as, what went well yesterday? What are you grateful for? What moves you? Who needs your prayers today?
Without the hustle and bustle, you may have noticed how the slower pace causes you to notice a world of things you had not noticed earlier. We are often too distracted or too busy to see the simple pleasures right in front of us. The quarantine is reshaping your relationships; it is harder to keep up with everyone when you are not running into people.
Our relationship with God is much like other relationships; a friendship grows closer with frequent contact and tends to fade if you do not nourish it. Prayer is the daily nourishment of your relationship with the divine.
Fewer people have been attending church or practicing formal religion, either because of the pandemic or what occurred before COVID. You may feel separated by COVID or unwelcome due to your marital status, gender identity, the absence of people on the altar who look like you or the horror of the criminal activity and scandal. Distancing from organized religion cannot silence the inner voice that only God can hear. Could holding anger against the church be a bit like drinking the poison and expecting the other to die?
What is the inner work that you are being called to do? You can enrich your relationship with God by moving toward God with daily reflection. Even though your life may be very busy, you can find time for this.
I made a life transition four years ago that led me to seek a deeper spiritual life. I didn’t realize I had been living clenched and stressed. My weekly church-going wasn’t fulfilling my spiritual needs. When I claimed a deeper relationship with God, I learned that it was possible to live life more fully and achieve inner peace.
Seeking a relationship with the almighty is a contact sport. Time spent on religious practice – reading the Scripture and spiritual books, praying, meeting in small groups with others, attending church – expands faith and deepens one’s spiritual relationship. The benefits are peaceful dividends: more love, more intention and feeling joy at a deeper level.
Six Actions to Renew Faith
If you are action oriented, consider these six actions to get your started:
Appreciate – Lift up your heart with the practice of gratitude. This is a fruitful place to start your reflection.
Linger – Form the habit of regular reflection time in stillness. Linger there as you reflect on a reading, listen for the divine voice, petition what may be on your heart.
Study – Start with Scripture and branch out to discover your favorite spiritual authors. Ask others in your faith community what they may be reading and dabble in their reading until you find your own way.
Practice – Before you were a Master Gardener, you toiled in the garden. Before you mastered piano, you practiced. Spending time in prayer, you will develop a vocabulary for praise and a cadence for discovering how you spend your prayer time.
Ask – bring your special intentions to your prayer hour. Ask for what you need and remember the needs of others.
Serve – find someone or an organization that needs your help and offer it. You will find the rewards can be immediate, uplifting and habit-forming.
Finally, just begin. Through the practice of daily reflection and journaling, we can examine our lives and our values, develop a heart-centered relationship with the Divine, and discover where to go next.