Tuesday, March 16, 2010

7 Good Habits for Faith Building

Are you a strong spiritual person?

We have to develop good habits to build our faith. My faith adds meaning, purpose and significance to my life which are all powerful components of living life to the fullest.

So, how can we cultivate a deeper spiritual connection in a world that doesn’t seem to lend itself to such?

It has to be an intentional pursuit. It has to be something we seek on a continual basis. We have to develop good habits for our faith to flourish.

Why does it have to be so intentional? Because the world seems to want to crowd out this part of our lives.

Regular people have a lot going on and if we don’t incorporate these good habits for faith into our daily routines, then we’ll wake up one morning and realize our spiritual lives have all but disappeared.
Making Good Habits for Faith a Priority

When I think about developing good habits for faith, the story Stephen Covey tells in his “Putting First Things First” chapter of The Seven Habits for Highly Effective People comes to my mind. I can’t remember the whole story, but I do recall the following about it:

Some people are given a jar, some sand, some gravel and some larger rocks. They are instructed to get as much of the material into the jar as possible. On their first attempt, they put the sand and gravel in the jar first. But they soon find that once they do this, the jar is too full for much of the bigger rocks to fit. It is only when they put the big rocks in first, pour in the gravel second so it can fill in the gaps between the bigger rocks and then put the sand in last to fill whatever space is left that they get the most into the jar.

This is the way it is with our spiritual lives. If we try to squeeze our spirituality into whatever time is leftover after we work, take care of the kids and mow the grass, then it just doesn’t fit. We have to make these habits our first priority. If we want to really grow our faith, we must put this big priority on our schedule before all the other little things that fill our time so quickly and easily .

Once we’ve establish the proper priority, then we can move on to living out the habits for faith.

7 Good Habits for Faith Building

The following intentional activities will prepare the soil of our hearts and minds for our faith to grow just like a farmer prepares a field before he plants. If we make these activities a regular part of our daily lives, then we will surely harvest a deeper, more lasting faith.

Here are the seven good habits for faith building:

1. Solitude

We live in a noisy, hurried world. There is always something that “needs” to be done. However, faith usually seems to grow best in the small, quiet moments. We need to get alone with our faith so we can get in touch with our spiritual side. Make a habit of practicing solitude for 15 to 30 minutes a day to contemplate and pray. If you are unaccustomed to solitude, then it will likely be hard for you at first. However, if you stick with it, this will likely become your favorite part of the day.

2. Meditate

Meditation is simply a time of focused thought on a deep and meaningful topic. It is a perfect thing to do during your time of solitude. You can begin by clearing your mind and relaxing your body. Try to calm the noise of spurious thoughts in your head. Spend this small fraction of your day directing your thoughts inward and towards your faith. Listen for insights that almost always seem to arise as you make room for your faith during quiet meditation.

3. Study

Invest a little time in your faith to learn more about it. Read, go to a class or participate in a discussion that will help you to go a little deeper. I’d encourage you to really investigate your faith. Challenge your preconceived or long-standing notions. Push the boundaries during your study time of what is commonly accepted about your faith. This is where you’ll often find renewed belief and greater understanding. Sink your teeth into your faith and you’ll enjoy some real nourishment.

4. Worship

Express your devotion to your faith during a time of worship. You may prefer to worship with a lot of other people or by yourself. It doesn’t matter. It is really just what suits you best. What does matter is your ability to let go of your inhibitions and let your heart soar with adoration. Worship is a time of expanding. Let your heart grow so it can hold even more faith. You can dance or stand with your head bowed. Worship is not a specific act. It is letting yourself go to experience the joy and love within your faith.

5. Service

Set aside some time on a regular basis to serve someone else as an act of faith. Do something that helps people and requires you to sacrifice some time, energy and resources. This will stretch you. It is where the rubber meets the road in faith. Giving of yourself to a worthy cause will not only benefit that cause, but you will also reap a reward. The greater your service, the more you’ll grow. I challenge you to give it a try and see if I’m right.

6. Gather

Make it a habit to get together with other like-minded people on a weekly basis. You can spend this time learning, worshipping, serving or just being together. It doesn’t matter so much what you do, it is just the act of gathering together that is helpful. I always grow in faith when I observe others expressing their faith. I also grow from the sense of community and unity I feel when I’m around others that have the same faith as me. This is a great habit to cultivate.

7. Rituals

Rituals or religious traditions often get a bad rap. They are thought of as old-fashioned and a symbol of a puritanical authority that we often reject. However, I think that when practiced wisely, rituals are a pathway to a greater faith. They are rooted in a rich history and are often loaded with abundant meaning. Explore some of the old rituals to see if one is right for you. You might just discover a whole new habit that can take you deeper than ever before!

About the Author

Jeff is a regular guy on a quest to live life to its fullest. He began MySuperChargedLife.com in December of 2007 as a way to share his experiences and to learn more about life.