When my wife and I started raising a family, we put a weekly “date-night” on the calendar. We hired a babysitter and went out to dinner, took a walk, or enjoyed a movie. It was our couple time—a special part of the week when we focused on “us.”
We usually had fun on our date-nights. But sometimes it got boring. Dinner talks too often focused on the kids and problem-solving. Sometimes we were worn-out from the week’s work and challenges, and we’d have little energy to pour into our relationship. We were tempted to cancel our date, which would sometimes catapult into a “you don’t care about me” fight.
We realized we had to spice things up if we wanted to deepen our relationship and grow as a couple. So, we listed all the things we liked to do and then switched things up by alternating date-night activities to rekindle the fun in “us.”
It’s All About Relationship
It’s the same thing with God. Having a relationship with our Higher Power is wonderful, but just like any relationship, we sometimes fall into a rut. We can take God for granted or get too busy to spend time with him.
When we do create time to be with the Creator, our monkey-minds often get the best of us, chattering away and grabbing our attention. We’re tempted to give up and stop praying or spending time with God because it doesn’t seem to be working anymore.
When that happens, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with us or with God. It simply suggests it’s time to spice things up in our relationship with the Almighty because God’s inviting us into a deeper intimacy with him. It’s as if he’s saying, “I think you’re amazing, and I’d like to get to know you a little better.”
Here’s a smorgasbord of ideas to add some spice to the “us” of you and God.
Take a sensuous walk
Take a walk in the woods or in a park. Notice the trees, the colors, the clouds. Let your senses focus on three things you see, three things you smell, and three things you hear. Let your heart receive the gift of nature’s beauty, and then lift your heart with gratitude to the Creator.
Know that the Divine Artist has created all of nature’s wonder to allow you to experience his amazing love for you.
Chat with God about your boredom
Spend some time in the quiet and be honest with God. Tell him your relationship is feeling dull. Ask what’s life-giving for you in your God-relationship.
It might be an invitation to go on a retreat, to listen to soothing music, or to experience a guided meditation. The dry times in our relationship with the Creator, just like with our loved ones, are invitations to shake things up, get creative, and juice up the time you spend with God.
Ask God for a deeper awareness of his presence
God is with us in each moment, whispering songs in our hearts, offering signs and symbols of wisdom and beauty to remind us of his Loving Presence. But sometimes we don’t notice God. We don’t see him as we move through our busy lives. When that happens, we can ask for the grace to become more aware of Divine Presence.
The other day I was feeling as if God was absent from my life. I felt distant from him. I jokingly said to him, “I want a mystical experience!”
As I walked my dog Bailey a few moments later, I looked up at the sky and there it was. The Divine Artist had splashed brushstrokes of pink and blue and mauve and yellow across dawn’s sky. “There you are, Creator,” I said. “I’ve been looking for a mystical experience in all the wrong places. You’re as close to me as I am to myself. Thank you.”
Open your spiritual eyes and heart. Notice Divine Presence when it paints itself upon your life.
Let the ordinary become extraordinary
Our brains are hard-wired to look for new information and excitement. Why do we check Instagram and our emails 509 times per day? We can get buried in our compulsive instincts and miss the miracles all around us.
Look at your hands. Notice how amazing they are—they can bend and move and touch. They can grasp or they can soothe. They can play a piano or change a diaper. They truly are miraculous.
Feel the breath within your lungs. The air moving in and out enriches your blood with life-giving nutrients. Every breath you take is a gift from the Creator from the moment you were born until your earthly death.
Put down the digital devices, turn off the television, and take time to let what seems ordinary become extraordinary as you realize that you—and all of life—are a miracle.
Write. Draw. Paint. Dance. Sing.
When we get stuck in a rut with God, it could be a nudge to express our creativity. God showed his creative nature by giving life to you and gifting each of us with a handful of creative talents.
Write a poem or journal your thoughts. Draw or paint a picture of what you see in your heart. Put on your favorite music and sing or dance before the Lord. Become childlike as you and the Creator play together.
Experience body prayer
Each of us is made with a trinity of mind, body, and soul. Like a three-legged stool, we need all three parts working together to be balanced. Whole.
But our minds often want to steal the show. They trap us in endless thinking.
If we shift our focus to the movement of our bodies, the mind becomes quiet because it can think only one thought at a time.
Take time to discover praying with and through your body. Experience Julian of Norwich’s body prayer with these four movements:
Await—with your hands cupped open and extended at the waist, stand waiting for the
presence of God.
Allow—reaching up with hands lifted towards the sky, seek deeper awareness
Accept—standing with your hands pressed gently on the chest above your heart, accept
yourself and others unconditionally. Receive any insights God offers.
Attend—with palms open and hands extended toward the world, move into the
day to accomplish the work God has given you to do.
Click on this link to experience a video of Julian’s prayer: How to Pray the Body Prayer.
Change up your Quiet Time
Spending daily quiet time with God is one of the best spiritual practices we can do to connect with the Divine and our Inner Selves. However, when our quiet time becomes rote, like checking off a to-do list, it’s time to adopt a new, less ritualistic way of being in the Creator’s Presence.
There are a multitude of ways we can spend time in prayer with God. None is right or wrong. Rather, God invites us to choose the style of prayer that’s most life-giving for us.
To view a smorgasbord of prayer and meditation styles so you can determine which style best fits you, click the following link and view the Finding Flow Webinar: Who You Are Is How You Pray.
Here’s a shortcut to establish or change your regular Daily Meditation Practice to find more inner peace, balance, and joy:
- Create a special prayer space in your house or office—place images, pieces of nature, and candles in your space to make it sacred for you
- Schedule a daily time to simply “Be” with God for 20-30 minutes in your special space
- Light a candle to establish your desire and intention to be present with God
- Ask God for a word, phrase, or image to hold within your heart, or pose a question for God to simply sit with and ponder
- Let your imagination run free
- If you need an anchor, return your attention to breathing
- If helpful, listen to the day’s Pray as You Go Savor the words and images that arise in you
- At the end of your prayer time, jot down any words, images or pieces of wisdom that rose within you
- Review your jottings regularly to discover how God is leading and guiding you through your daily meditation practice.
Spice It Up
When your relationship with God gets dry or boring, see it as an invitation to spice it up. Pick some of the above or other spiritual practices to deepen the bond between you and the One who created and continues to create you.
Notice how you experience deeper peace, balance, and wholeness—day-by-day, bit-by-bit.
—brian j plachta
REGISTER NOW FOR THE FREE OCTOBER WEBINAR:
LECTIO DIVINA OF DREAMS
Simple Ways to Discover How God Is Speaking to You
Through Your Dreams
A Finding Flow—Simple
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm (Eastern US Time)
Have you ever wondered if God is speaking to you through a dream?
If so, how do you discover what God might be saying to you?
Is it possible to experience Lectio Divina (divine reading) of a dream to discern its meaning?
Join me for a free Zoom Webinar to explore these questions and others.
During the webinar you’ll discover:
That God has spoken to many people in the bible through their dreams
That God uses our dreams to communicate with us
There are simple ways we can use to discover what God’s saying to us through our dreams
I look forward to being your guide for this workshop and offering you a simple way to discern God’s invitations to you through your dreams.
We’ll invite some of the participants to bring a recent dream to the workshop. We’ll then use the practice of Lectio Divina to discover some of the dream’s meanings.
You’ll experience a spiritual practice you can integrate into your life to help you discover how God is guiding you through your dreams.
How Do I Sign-Up?
Join us for this free Webinar by clicking on the link to Register or Learn More:
PS—I hope you can join us live for the Webinar, but if not, I’ll be recording it, so feel free to register and I can send you the recorded webinar to view at your convenience.