I’m so pleased to welcome my friend, Leanna Hampton, to the blog this week to share simple spiritual habits for daily life. Leanna writes beautiful posts that encourage me in my faith and walk with God. This week, she’s encouraging us with simple, doable Christian faith practices that can help us draw closer to God, especially in times of anxiety.
Meet the Author: Leanna Hampton is an author, librarian, and auntie living in central Ohio. She loves taking walks in the woods with Jesus and is most at peace when she is paddling her stand-up paddle board on the local reservoir. Her deepest desire is to glorify God through sharing her authentic, messy, faith-filled story of following Jesus. Leanna writes to strengthen women of faith and break chains.
Spiritual Habits for Daily Life
There is a lie many women live and breathe on repeat throughout their days and it goes like this: I am not enough.
Are you familiar with it? Today I want to share a few spiritual habits for daily life we can use to keep our minds centered on Christ throughout the day so that we can emerge from the constant weight of feeling like we aren’t measuring up to the world’s standard.
We live in an age of information and opinions. All day long our culture tells us that we aren’t doing what we should be doing.
Your mom’s group has a discussion about the best method to wean your child, and it’s not the method you chose. Your best friend shares a new self-help book she read that will help you find happiness. Or perhaps your boss tells you that your team’s numbers are falling below the set goal. Instagram shows you how you could have perfect skin in just 15 minutes, twice daily.
These constant messages can leave us feeling like we are lacking in all areas of our life. It leads to the feeling that we aren’t enough. This is followed by a major case of the shoulds. “I should do xyz.” When we live in the Land of the Shoulds, we end up filled with shame when we don’t do what we think we ought to do.
Let’s break the cycle, ok?
Joining Your Life With Jesus
Jesus offers us a way out, and his way leads us out into the world, striding with confidence and peace.
Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.Matthew 11:28-29, The Passion Translation
Morning: Read the Word First!
When you wake up in the morning and get 2 minutes to yourself while you are sipping your beverage of choice, what do you gravitate toward? Many of us grab our phone and scroll through the feeds, news and socials, to see what we missed from yesterday. We start out the day comparing our lives to others, playing “catch up” and feeling behind the times.
How do you feel when you finish scrolling? Slightly anxious with a bit of the shoulds?
Now, imagine what would happen if you started your day with Jesus’ voice in your head and heart instead of the world’s words and images. God’s word is Truth. No lies, no comparison. Just assurance of his love, confidence in our salvation, and strength.
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.Isaiah 43:1, NIV
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.Ephesians 2:6-7, NIV
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.Philippians 4:13, NKJV
When we consume God’s word before anything worldly, God is the one shaping our thoughts and feelings before our day begins. If you aren’t sure where to start, I highly recommend the Well-Watered Women’s Word Before World Bible reading challenge. Every day you spend less than 5 minutes reading about the power of Scripture. For me, it was a spark that burst into a flame of desire to continue reading the Word after the 30-day challenge was complete.
I also love to listen to the Bible on audio through the YouVersion app. I can get some Truth on the way to work or the grocery store!
Noon: Talk to Jesus
Who do you talk to when no one is in the room? Yourself? Do you find yourself rehashing the last conversation you had with your spouse or maybe you are detailing the list of 801 things you need to do before you pick up the kids from soccer practice.
If you have accepted Jesus as the Lord of your life, he is living inside you! He delights in being invited into your daily routine. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul says,
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.Ephesians 3:16-17 NIV
Sometimes when I don’t know what to say about a given situation, I simply use a one-word-prayer: “Jesus!”
It says in Romans 8:26 that in our weakness the Spirit of God knows just how to intercede on our behalf when we don’t have the words ourselves. You don’t need to use fancy words, simply call on his name throughout your day. Other one-word-prayers (hello, sorry, help, thanks) invite Jesus into your daily life and help to establish dependency and intimacy with him.
Night: Release Your Heart to Jesus
I don’t know about you, but I’m an Escape Artist. When life gets tough and I’m overwhelmed with negative thoughts and emotions, my go-to path is to escape by distracting myself via TV, food, books, or social media. The problem is that when I finish whatever activity I was using to escape my worries, and I get ready for bed, all the thoughts I was avoiding come rushing back ten-fold.
The solution sounds easy, but in practice it takes discipline. Don’t escape. Instead take it all to Jesus and set it at the foot of the cross. Journaling and guided prayer are two practices that can help.
I start all my journal entries by addressing them to Abba, Jesus, or Holy Spirit depending on how I’m feeling. Addressing the entry reminds me I’m talking to the God of the Universe who is capable of dealing with any words, situations, or emotions I can express.
Usually, when I am done pouring out my worries to him, the troubles lose their anxiety-inducing terror. I may still be concerned, but now I have laid them at the feet of Jesus. I am reminded that he is on my side and is fighting for me.
Guided prayer apps like Lectio 365 or Pray As You Go offer 3-10 minute pre-recorded prayers with time to examine what happened in your day. You offer to him the good and the not-so-great, and then you pray over tomorrow. These prayers are often called Examens. Many followers of Christ who end their day with this spiritual practice have found a deepening connection with God and a growing ability to hear his voice and feel his presence throughout the day.
We can bring our hearts to Jesus during the morning, noon, and night with simple spiritual habits for daily life. He is always with us, and ready at a moment’s notice. When the pressures of the world start closing in and you begin to feel like you are not enough because you haven’t done what you should, remember that Jesus is the one who names you worthy. Unlike the world, his burden upon you is light.
Come to him, come to him, come to him. Reading the word, praying one-word-prayers, journaling and reflecting at night. These relatively short moments carved out of a busy day can realign your heart with his so that you are looking to Jesus for your daily affirmation and strength.
You can start small. Say his name today when you feel your patience wearing thin. Tomorrow, open your Bible app before you check Instagram. But whatever you do, there is no shame, there are no shoulds to be had. Give yourself grace, because he certainly does. He just wants to spend time with you because he loves you so much. I pray blessings on you as you practice these spiritual habits for daily life as you walk in his presence.
It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night….Psalm 92:1-2, NIV