What’s In Your Spiritual Toolbox?

During these unusual times of quarantine and “shelter-in-place,” it’s especially important for each of us to rely on a “spiritual toolbox” to keep us centered and healthy. Below I have offered four different “tools” that you can put in your own spiritual toolbox and use as needed. None of them are completely original with me – but all of them are in my toolbox for times such as these. I hope you find them helpful. Enjoy! 

TOOL #1: The poem “Take Time” by Martin Greyford

Take time to think . It is the source of all power.                                               Take time to play . It is the secret of perpetual youth.                                         Take time to read . It is the foundation of wisdom.                                                Take time to pray . It is the greatest power on Earth.                                         Take time to love and be loved . It is God given & It is the road to happiness.                              Take time to laugh . It is the music of the soul.                                               Take time to give . It is too short a day to be selfish.                                             Take time to work . It is the price of success.                                                        Take time to charity . It is the key to Heaven.

TOOL #2: “20 People to Pray For” — The Invocation prayer from last Sunday’s service – based on a prayer written by Jen Pollock Michel and read by Karaline Vanausdoll and Pastor Bob

Prayer is never meant to be our last resort. We have a God who walks with us, and is always ready to listen … our God bends his ear to towards us to hear our prayers, and so we pray:

1) For the sick and infected: God, heal and help them.                                                                                                     2) For our at-risk populations: God, protect our elderly, those with less means, those of color who are disproportionately affected and the uninsured.                                                                                                            3) For the young and the strong: God, give them caution and good sense to keep them from unwittingly spreading this disease. And inspire them to help others, not to put them in harm’s way.                                            4) For our local, state, and federal government officials: God, help them understand the true nature of this virus and to take actions which put us in front of the virus.                                                                                           5) For our scientific community: God, give them new knowledge, ancient wisdom, and a persuasive voice of truth.                                                                                                                                                                                      6) For the media: God, help them to communicate with appropriate seriousness without causing panic.                                                                                                                                                                                    7) For consumers of media: God, help us find the most helpful local information to equip us to be good neighbors and enable us to implement the recommended strategies, even at a cost to ourselves.                 8) For those with mental health challenges: God, provide them every necessary support to bring them peace and a sense of security and safety.                                                                                                                                9) For the homeless: God, protect them in their shelter systems and outdoor habitats, and keep them from this disease and other harms.                                                                                                                                                    10) For travelers stuck in foreign countries: God, help them return home safely and quickly.                                          11) For missionaries throughout the world, especially in areas with high rates of infection: God, provide them with your words of hope, and equip them to love and serve those around them.                                            12) For workers facing layoffs and financial hardship: God, settle their panic, and inspire your church to generously support them.                                                                                                                                                     13) For families with young children at home: God, help our mothers and fathers to find creative ways to care for and nourish their children. And for single mothers and fathers, God, help them to grow their networks of support.                                                                                                                                                                14) For parents who cannot stay home from work and must find care for their children: God, give them grace to see a way and present them with creative and affordable solutions.                                                            15) For those in need of regular therapies and treatments that must now be postponed: God, help them to stay patient and positive and healthy.                                                                                                                               16) For business leaders having to make difficult decisions that affect the lives of their employees: God, give these women and men the wisdom of Christ-like love, and help them to lead self-sacrificially.                                                                                                                                                                                       17) For pastors and church leaders: God, help us to creatively imagine how to pastor their congregants and love their communities well.                                                                                                                                                     18) For students, especially high school, college and university students: God, show them that while life is uncertain, their trust is in you.                                                                                                                                                19) For God’s people in every neighborhood, community, and country across the world: God, in this time of the unknown, may your Holy Spirit inspire us to pray, to give, to love, to serve, and to proclaim the gospel, that the name of Jesus Christ might be glorified around the world.                                                                20) And for frontline health care workers and first responders throughout the land: We thank you for your courageous call to serve us, and anyone, and everyone, who needs help. 

God, teach us to be your faithful people in this time of global crisis. And help us to follow in the footsteps of our faithful good shepherd, Jesus, who laid down his life for the sake of love. Amen.

TOOL #3: “Be Kind” – circulating through various social media platforms – author unknown

As governors are trying to figure out how to ease back in to a new normal, please remember:                                                                                                       Some people don’t agree with the state opening…. that’s okay. Be kind.                           Some people are still planning to stay home…. that’s okay. Be kind.                                 Some are still scared of getting the virus and a second wave happening….that’s okay. Be kind.                                                                                                    Some are sighing with relief to go back to work knowing they may not lose their business or their homes….that’s okay. Be kind.                                                   Some are thankful they can finally have a surgery they have put off….that’s okay. Be kind.                                                                                                            Some will be able to attend interviews after weeks without a job….that’s okay.     Be kind.                                                                                                        Some will wear masks for weeks….that’s okay. Be kind.                                                Some people will rush out to get the hair or nails done…. that’s okay. Be kind.                     The point is, everyone has different viewpoints/feelings and that’s okay. Be kind.              We each have a different story. If you need to stay home, stay home. But be kind. If you need to go out, just respect others when in public and be kind!                             Don’t judge fellow humans because you’re not in their story. We all are in different mental states than we were months ago.                                                                So remember, be kind.

TOOL #4: “4 Ways to Soften Loneliness” from the website: “Calm”

4 Ways to Soften Loneliness

 1 | Let go of unhelpful stories.

All too often, loneliness gets tangled up with fear. Deep down, we’re afraid that being lonely means that there is something wrong with us. We worry that we are unloveable or that no one truly gets us and that we will be alone forever. These stories we tell about ourselves are untrue; they keep us stuck and weigh us down. Sadly we feed these tales of self through our constant attention, and they end up growing and consuming our every thought. Our job is to interrupt these troubling thoughts and to focus on something else. We must stop buying into the stories we weave out of fear.

2 | Share how you’re really feeling. 

Sometimes we feel lonely because we hide who are we are and how we’re feeling from others. When a friend asks you how you are, tell them the truth. Instead of automatically saying you’re good, try saying something like, “yesterday was difficult, I’m missing being out in the world and felt really lonely” or “I’m grateful that you called, it’s so good to hear your voice”. Being vulnerable can leave us feeling a little tender and exposed, but the beauty is that it facilitates true connection. By opening ourselves up to be seen and heard, we’re no longer alone in our inner experience.

  1. Be brave and reach out to people in similar situations.

Our lives and the lives of those around us are forever changing. Friends get married and have kids; other friends move away or find themselves busy with a new job. Sadly, the people who once kept us company might not have the time to hang out in the ways they once did. The loss that comes with change is undoubtedly worth grieving and it’s essential to offer ourselves compassion. At the same time, we need to open ourselves to new people, especially those who may have similar schedules and interests. There’s no shortage of digital spaces to connect with others online. If you’re looking for mindful company, check out the Daily Calm Community Facebook group. Or, try a new app to search for a date, a friend, or even a business mentor! Maybe there are friends of friends in the same situation as you!? If so, ask for an introduction.

4 | Befriend yourself. 

One of the most helpful things we can ever do is to learn to love our own company. Notice what’s getting in the way of you enjoying time alone. For many of us, the voice in our head can be quite judgmental and unkind, not a very good friend. So stop giving your inner critic the mic and start listening to the quieter voices within that will guide you back to what nourishes and inspires you. Make yourself a special dinner or take yourself on a beautiful walk. Light candles, play wonderful music, get all dressed up and do a puzzle.

Friends – God has gifted us with a rare and precious gift – TIME! Let us use it well … and all for the Glory of God! 

Blessings all around – Pastor <>< Bob