Lenten season is here and it’s a time to repent, renew, and refresh our souls as we look to the cross. It’s also that time of year when our goals or intentions from the new year start to wane or atrophy. Lent can be the perfect time to work on some habits to refresh your soul.
As mentioned in my previous post, atrophy can happen to our minds and bodies with lack of use. The same can be true for our faith. Are we actively searching for ways to come closer to God, to exercise our faith? If not, atrophy and/or a staleness in our faith life can occur. The Bible actually warns us about atrophy in soul, mind, and body:
James encourages us:
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” ~James 4:8 NLT
Peter tells us:
“So prepare your minds for action (think clearly in another translation) and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.” ~1 Peter 1:13 NLT
Paul reminds us:
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” ~1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT
Staying focused on what God calls us to do is what is important. To do His will, we need our soul, mind and body in shape, not atrophying. But it takes effort to keep moving and growing and not allow atrophy to set in. To help, here are five habits to refresh your soul and alleviate atrophy.
Refresh your soul
- Practice daily quiet time with God. Use this time to draw closer to God by reading the Bible, praying, seeking, and being still with Him. There’s no perfect formula, simply do what is comfortable and go from there. Since beginning this myself years ago, it’s helped to center me before my day, improve my attitude, and deepen my faith. Whether we do it every morning, at lunch, or as we wind down each night, give it a try and as James reminds us: “come close to God and God will come close to you”.
- Physically attend worship. This is more difficult on days when the weather is cold or uncooperative, but it’s always worth the effort. It’s easier to skip or listen/watch a service or sermon online. But when we actively go, participate, and engage, we not only worship but also engage with God and others in a way that is impossible to do alone. We are meant and encouraged to worship together and should whenever we can.
- Read the Bible. We all have our favorite preachers, speakers, and devotion writers. But none of it is the same as reading the actual words of God in the Bible! It’s easier to follow God’s plan for our lives when we are in deep communication with Him. Reading more than a verse a day and applying what we read is how we live out God’s plan. (Hint-a study Bible makes all the difference. This is my favorite one.)
- Pray. When we pray consistently and often or as Paul says “never stop praying” , it creates a habit. When I read this years ago, I didn’t understand how to live life and pray constantly. Then as I began to pray more consistently, I learned daily life can be an ongoing conversation with God in my mind. Prayer is as simple as talking to a friend, One who knows us better than anyone else and can help with every problem.
- Serve with gladness. There are times we would rather selfishly do our own thing than serve others. But when we help someone, we usually wind up richer in some way. We are meant to live in community and when we help and serve each other with gladness and not just begrudgingly, we shift our own attitude and do God’s will.
These suggestions are great habits to add to our routine, not just during Lent, but everyday. See how adding even just one makes a difference and helps refresh your soul this season.