Spiritual health is just as important to our lives as our physical or mental health, but often when life gets busy it’s the first thing we push to the back burner.
It’s taken me years and years, but I am gradually learning that:
- I desperately need to look to my spiritual health.
- Spiritual wellness is maintained by regular habits.
Just like we need to drink water daily to replenish and flush our bodies, we need to spend daily time reading the Bible, praying, and meditating.
These are some of my favourite resources for spiritual wellness (other than the Bible!).
Here are my top picks for resources that have encouraged and challenged me:
The Valley of Vision– This is a collection of prayers and short devotionals representing nearly three centuries of Christianity. It was compiled by Arthur G. Bennett and published in 1975. Each prayer is brief but meaty, easy to understand but deeply poetic.
Our Daily Bread devotionals– This is a resource by RBC Ministries out of Grand Rapids, so they’re somewhat local to me. The devotional booklets are free, and you can sign up to have them mailed to you monthly or every three months. My family has been using them for a breakfast-time devotional for three generations!
The Book of Common Prayer
Esther: It’s Tough Being a Woman Bible study by Beth Moore- I love many of Beth Moore’s studies, but Esther is one of my favourite books of the Bible. I appreciate that Beth’s studies dig into the Biblical and historical context of each passage she writes on, and that they’re also full of practical application.
Books by Elisabeth Eliot– Honestly, I couldn’t pick just one! Elisabeth Eliot’s books on faith, marriage, calling, and discipleship have inspired and challenged me since I learned to read! Her life was an amazing testimony and I know that I will continue to learn from her godly wisdom through many seasons.
I would like to offer four simple but profound ways for overcoming the dark times in your life. I don’t know if you face depression, a ragged relationship, financial strain, or a stressful schedule. But I do know that God can bring you through it and work good out of it. He’s done it for me many times.
How to Overcome Dark Times in Your Life
1. Stay richly rooted in the Word.
Read it daily and memorize from it, even if it doesn’t seem to be feeding your soul at the moment.
2. Remember the faithfulness that God has shown to His people in the past.
My faith is deepened by hearing how God has been faithful and answered the prayers of my parents, grandparents, and older relatives. Realizing that God has taken care of them–and even worked some miracles in their lives–assures me that He will direct the events of my life, as well. If you don’t have older Christians to remind you about God’s faithfulness, read the book of Hebrews. God’s faithfulness is everywhere in the lives of the Old Testament saints.
3. Choose joy.
Sometimes it’s easier to be joyful when you realise that you have a choice to be. “Choose joy” was the mantra of my camp counselors back in junior high. We practiced it all week. When our activities got rained out, we chose joy. When irresponsible campers got our privileges revoked, we chose joy. When camp was over and we had to return to mundane life, we chose joy.
Now I remind myself to make joy a choice in life’s more difficult situations: When someone I care about is treated poorly. When a job doesn’t turn out the way I expected it to. When someone I hoped to spend more time with dies. You might not feel very happy at the time, but you can choose to call on joy!
4. Spend lots of time resting quietly.
It’s so easy to let your mind run in dizzy spirals around and around the same anxious issues. When this happens, it’s vital to stop and rest. I don’t mean to escape into over-sleep, which can be tempting when you’re depressed. I mean sitting with a cup of tea, reflecting and meditating on God’s blessings and character.
When Eric and I went to Mexico earlier this summer I spent many hours lying on the beach, letting a hurtful situation fade away in the warm sun. Draining my mind of stressful thoughts and just being in Christ brought me peace.