Stepping Stones: Spiritual Practices for Today

Author: The Rev. Elizabeth McCord

Published Date: 4/6/2020

Categories: Pioneers Persevere Social Spiritual Life


When crisis disrupts our lives, our souls long for comfort, stability, and direction. Our spirits ache for familiarity, for connection with others, and for purpose. Simple spiritual practices offer solace for these times. Reflection and intentionality throughout the day can form a path, stepping stones that guide us from morning to night, from day to day. They bring our awareness to the grace that surrounds us and to the hope that will carry us forward.The below spiritual disciplines draw on the movements of Christian worship, but you don’t have to be a Christian or even religious to practice them. They simply offer tools for daily spiritual well-being—your own and others:

Elizabeth McCord
The Rev. Elizabeth McCord

Practices for the Morning:

Begin each morning by counting your blessings and readying your heart for the day ahead. Every morning…

Give thanks. Before you even get out of bed, let yourself be truly thankful for a new day with new opportunities and for the blessings that fill your life. Take a moment for meditation or prayer to focus on nothing but gratitude.

Be humble. Know from the time you put your feet on the ground, you will need extra grace today. This is a stressful time, and we all—even you—have limits.  Start the day by acknowledging your own humanity and seeking the grace and understanding you will undoubtedly need.

Forgive often. Recognize that others will need to receive that same grace and understanding.  With a deep breath, let go of any resentment or frustrations you may be holding, and seek the inner resources to show kindness and patience to others, even when they are making you crazy.
 

Practices for the Day:

Everyday do one thing to attend to your spirit’s longings. Be intentional in how you use your time and purposeful in the ways you connect with others. Make sure you do something meaningful every day.

Seek wisdom. Read a scripture passage, poem, or devotional. Listen to a worship service or guided meditation online. Sing along to a song that always makes your cry…or dance.  Put on a meaningful podcast while you’re doing dishes. Give your brain and your heart something to think about that’s worthwhile.

Listen deeply. True connection doesn’t happen through surface-level conversations. Whether you’re talking with a family member, emailing a coworker, or calling a friend you haven’t spoken with in a long time, try to listen with an open heart. Be attentive to others’ worries, frustrations, and even the gratitude they may be expressing. Acknowledge their humanity by listening and showing compassion.

Serve. Take on a service project as an individual or a family. Make masks for hospitals. Check in with your local homeless shelter to see what supplies you can provide. Write notes to older folks who are isolated.  Clean out old toys and clothes for future donation. To the extent you are healthy and able, be your siblings’ keeper and find some way to serve others even from inside your home.
 

Practices for the Evening:

End the day well. Take a few minutes to be in stillness and silence, or if appropriate, share your reflection time with a loved one or roommate.

Reflect. Pray through your day. When did you feel a sense of connection, purpose, joy, or energy? When did you feel worried, aimless, frustrated, or drained?  Note any wisdom this reflection can give you for tomorrow.

Release. Put down everything you cannot change or control. Let go of any should haves or could haves. Turn off the newsreel in your head. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Remember the grace that holds you and others, and let that grace be enough for this night.

Receive. Sit or lay with your hands and heart open. Take a few deep breaths. Be still. Open yourself to receive tenderness, compassion, and peace. Rest well, knowing that this day and every day you are held in God’s grace.

 

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