by Beth Anderson, Synod Ministry Coordinator – 9/25/2015
My husband and I are participating in David Ramsey’s Financial Peace UniversityTM at our congregation this fall. It’s a personal and family stewardship program that several congregations in our synod offer. It’s been offered at our congregation a number of times, but we finally made the commitment to participate in this seminar that has made a difference in the financial wellbeing of many individuals and families.
Throughout the course, Ramsey encourages participants to take a number of baby steps, the first being to save up a $1,000 emergency fund. With humor, he plays with the idea of Murphy’s Law; you know that old adage that “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Sometimes it seems that when one thing happens, suddenly several other things happen and begin to pile up, and before long you find yourself stretched well beyond your means. The emergency fund creates a buffer between you and that big pile of emergencies. Now when an unexpected expense comes up, you have a place to draw from, sparing you the stress and anxiety that often attack when that buffer isn’t in place.
While Ramsey, uses this analogy for financial stewardship purposes, I think we sometimes feel as if we experience Murphy’s Law at work in the spiritual and emotional realms of our lives as well. Have you ever found yourself caught beneath a pile of happenings and felt spiritually stretched beyond your means? My guess is your answer is yes. So I got to thinking, can we create a spiritual buffer to draw from when an extraordinary dose of life’s challenges come our way?
When we’re in crisis mode, we often turn to God in prayer, desperately asking for mercy and deliverance. And rightly so. God wants to hear our prayers. But one of the rich gifts to the Christian community is the gift of spiritual disciplines – daily prayer, regular scripture reading, worshipping and breaking bread in a community of other believers. These practices, when they become a regular part of the rhythm of our lives, deepen our relationship with God and with one another. They can build in us a sort of spiritual reservoir to draw on when challenges arise.
Through these practices, God reminds us of God’s steadfast presence and love in our lives. We are reminded that we are not alone for the Holy Spirit walks with us, as we worship with others we are reminded that Christ knits us together with other believers, and we’re reminded that God has provided resources within this Body of Christ to sustain us. The result of engaging in these spiritual practices over time is a kind of spiritual and emotional resiliency that prepares us to weather life’s storms with greater perspective and hope in God’s unfailing promise.
So what are some of your favorite ways of filling your spiritual reservoir? What keeps you rooted in God’s promises for you? Maybe it’s starting your day with a scripture reading and a cup of coffee before others in your household awake, maybe it’s the weekly men’s Bible Study in your church basement on Saturday mornings, maybe it’s the time of prayer you sneak in the driver’s seat of the car as you wait for kids outside of school, maybe it’s weekly coffee and prayer with a close friend, maybe it’s a regular visit with a spiritual director or pastor.
If you are looking for a few ideas to fuel your soul, here are some of my favorite online resources that I often turn to:
- GodPause (Daily scripture readings and reflections from Luther Seminary)
- Living Prayer Center (a great resource for trying different prayer methods)
- Sacred Space (daily online prayer)
There are many other resources and practices. I’d love to hear how you fuel your soul. Please share some of your favorite spiritual disciplines in the comments section of our facebook post, so we might continue to learn from one another. As a community let’s build each other’s spiritual reservoirs. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite spiritual practice as we each share some of our own.