Cultivating Vitality

Last week I posted about the drought here in central Indiana and the spiritual dryness we can easily fall into in the Christian life. There can be many causes of spiritual drought, but the main ones are probably spiritual neglect and difficult life circumstances. Sometimes things happen that are beyond our control — stuff in life that makes our schedule crazy, happenings that break our heart. Sometimes, no matter what we do, God seems distant.

But often times, we can change the conditions that are causing spiritual drought in our lives. Often the spiritual neglect or the vitality-sapping conditions in our life are under our control — and can be quickly changed by some simple choices, habits, and mindset shifts. We can flourish.

Consider these ideas . . .

Stay rooted: Connect with God through his Word. Dig in deep. Perhaps this may mean re-cultivating a long lost habit of daily Bible study. Or maybe it means changing things up and approaching God’s Word through a different angle such as Scripture meditation; memorizing a simple passage; singing, praying, or speaking Scripture back to God; reading Scripture’s narratives imaginatively, picturing the events and the thoughts and feelings of the people involved. Long periods of immersion in the Bible are wonderful, but I also contend that even just 5 or 10 minutes spent daily rooting yourself in God’s Word WILL make a difference in your mindset and your soul’s vitality.

Refresh: The main reason my lawn is dead-looking isn’t the oppressive heat — it’s the lack of rain. It needs a cool soaking of refreshing water. And it needs it again and again and again. And so do you and I. We need to be refreshed! God designed us to need refreshment — we’re lying to ourselves if we think we can go through life without it. What refreshes you? Can you prioritize cultivating Sabbath-keeping habits (even if it’s unconventional and not on a Sunday)? What about doing something fun — hanging out with friends, laughing with your kids, watching a favorite movie? What about taking the time for your passions, your hobbies, or a new creative pursuit? What about a smooch with your husband? Or a walk under the stars? Or a fantastic book? If we neglect our need for refreshment in life, we end up just like that grass. We may have roots in God’s Word and in other spiritual practices, but the lack of joy and fun and refreshment leaves us brittle and dry.

Soak Up the Light: I know it can be scientifically explained, but to me photosynthesis is just plain magical. Life, growth, color, vibrancy all happening simply by taking in light. The light feeds a plant. The warmth literally enables it to  be energized, to fuel its cells with nourishment. Plants reach toward and grow toward light, the source of life. We, too, can soak up the light of God’s presence. God is with us, always. God surrounds us in every place, God’s presence fills every moment. Do we realize it? How often do we check in and pay attention to the God who is with us — who is with me right now as I type and with you right now as you read? Paying soul-attention to God’s faithful presence can powerfully nourish our souls. As we cultivate habits of attention to God’s presence — a type of prayer in and of itself —  we find ourselves “magically” growing and filled with vitality.

The last thing a person in a spiritual drought needs is a long to-do list. Too many to-dos may have caused the drought in the first place! If you desire to flourish and move out of a period of dryness, perhaps select just one of these principles or ideas to apply to your life this week. God can fill you with fresh life! Change the drought-conditions and flourish in God’s loving, faithful presence.

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2 responses to “Cultivating Vitality

  1. Very good; and so true. Typically, when I find myself off course, it is because I have neglected soul care.

  2. I love the thought of refreshing. Jon Acuff’s post yesterday on building your own Central Park is along similar lines. I need to start doing that more.

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