As we finish off the first month of a new year, I wanted to take a little time to center on an often-overlooked topic in the faith deconstruction process–how do we tend to our souls and spiritual lives when we’re in the midst of so much upheaval?
Sure, many of us might be allergic to some old spiritual practices, but are there new ones we can try that might help us feel less lonely and disconnected to God in the process?
Is there a way to foster new life while so much is dying at the same time?
Can we find joy in the midst of the pain?
Life in the spiritual desert of deconstruction requires water, rest and food, or we will die.
Over a decade ago, as I made some shifts away from the utter and total absorption in the mega-church I was part of, I found that some of the things that used to bring comfort no longer did. The Bible felt flat. Worship songs made me go a little nutty. Journaling just felt forced. I longed for connection with God in the-old-ways-that-used-to-work, but it definitely wasn’t working.
Over time something shifted, and I began to let go of feeling like I had to grind down to find something I just couldn’t find. Instead, I tried to let go of the old (and not feel guilty about it) and began to notice God in other places.
I unhooked from the false belief that some things are more “spiritual” than others.
I tried to do things that I liked to do, that were good for my soul, that helped me feel rest, peace, and connection to God, my soul.
Here were some of these soul care and spiritual practices on this bumpy road:
I watched a lot of movies. For me, almost the best soul care there is.
I took one entire day off from meeting or talking with people in any way, shape or form, period.
I turned off the radio whenever I drove and put my cell phone in the back seat (I need to start this one back up!)
Late night conversations with dear friends around fires and kitchen tables and in coffee shops.
I tried to practice the daily examen before I went to sleep or when I was driving alone in the car–where I noticed God’s peace or hope or presence in some way, shape or form during each day.
I spent as much time as I could on the lake, which is my happy place.
I used The Message translation of the Bible and tried not to compare it to the passages I was used to.
I started blogging, a really interesting spiritual practice that is helpful in getting comfortable in our own skin.
I started walking every-day-come-rain-or-shine for my back, but now it’s one of my best spiritual practices ever.
In the past few years I began art journaling and it was so good for me to get away from just words.Faith Shift has a lot of different possibilities to consider, too.
We’re all different in this category.
Sometimes what works for a while stops working and we need to be willing to try something else.
Some of us thrive on being outside or alone or with people; while some like to make art others have other ways of expressing themselves.
The point isn’t adapting to what brings life to someone else.
The point is to consider what brings life to you without the confines of “shoulds” that we’re so familiar with.
What stirs your soul?
What helps you get out of the round-and-round-and-round of What Was and helps you move into What Could Be?
What do you want to try that you didn’t feel like you could in the system you lived in for a long time?
What do you want to experiment with?
What are you clear on that you can’t do so you can steer clear from it in this next season?
What might not seem “spiritual” in the old world you used to live in but you know brings healing?
Again, it’s different for each of us, but we all need fuel for this long journey in the unknown.
My hope is that we all find a soul care or spiritual practice that works for our story, our situation, our experience that brings life.
What’s working (or worked) for you?