You are probably well-aware of the saying, “Jesus first, others second, yourself last.” And while that is the mindset for your daily life, you do need to shift that list so that you think of yourself first when it comes to spiritual self-care. Let’s face it — it’s been a tough year. Whether your role was an essential worker, parent or elder, you’ve had a difficult year. As we begin to prepare ourselves for the upcoming Lenten season, it’s time to admit something difficult for most, but truthful none the less: we can’t fill our families’ and friend’s spiritual buckets if ours are running on empty. Following are some ways you can step back and renew your faith.
Go Back to the Basics
You don’t need expensive online courses, reflective spiritual books, or three-day conferences to renew your faith. In fact, one might say that all you need is a few minutes a day in front of the Eucharist, with your trusty rosary. Make a commitment to come back to Christ by making the time to visit with him. If your parish offers Eucharistic adoration, stop by to talk to the Lord as often as you can. Tell Him your fears, your worries, your apprehensions. And then do some reflecting. So often, we become fixated on the “doing” part of serving God, rather than focusing on actually being in communion with Him. When we work so hard to do works in His name, yet forget Him who deserves all praise, we’re kind of missing the point. Block off time within your calendar to spend time with Christ, whether that be by journaling and praying in the morning with your cup of coffee, spending your lunch hour in Eucharistic adoration, or a reflective rosary near bedtime. Like most repetitive tasks, you’ll soon discover that good habits will quickly take hold.
Find Someone to Talk to
They say if you want to go somewhere fast, walk alone. But if you want to go somewhere far, walk together. And what a journey it can be to work in a parish setting! Do you find that sharing your feelings can help you gain perspective and process feelings you didn’t even know you had? Find a friend or trusted colleague to meet or call a few times and go over how you’re feeling. Whether you just have a few meetings with a colleague or two over coffee, or schedule a counseling session with a spiritual counselor, it’s essential to get all your thoughts and feelings out there. Let it out, share what you want (or need!) to share, and then begin anew.
Form a Team to Tackle Big (or little!) Projects
As our parish and the world emerges from crisis mode, there’s bound to be some big projects to tackle! If there are multiple tasks to complete, ask for help or offer to be the parishioner or volunteer to help take on some of them. This will help you keep in mind the “why” for what we do — bringing followers to Christ! Think of all the usual things that happen during Lent — Ashes, Stations of the Cross, preparing for Holy Week, fasting and abstaining, and offering more prayer opportunities. Remember, we don’t need to do this alone!