The modern Western world provides many wonderful gifts: access to amazing technology; life in a global village; access to further education; and the benefits of advances in medicine, just to name a few. This is all great stimulation for Body and Mind. But what about Spirit? The personal aspect of acknowledging and developing your spirit is often ignored.
Listen to this radio interview where I talk about Looking After Yourself.
Why Look After Your Spirit?
Your Spirit and You
Why does a mother need to be concerned about her spirit? It’s a good question.
The answer has to do with your sense of isolation. Because while you may feel lonely, the truth is, you are not alone. Your spirit is the part of you hanging out for connection. If you acknowledge God, and His part in your life, you will soon discover you are not on your own after all.
Unfortunately, our scientific world-view usually assumes that for something to be real it must be possible to see it and measure it. However, this ignores that you are far more than simply cells, blood vessels, bones and tissue. Your essence, the very nature of who you are, is contained in your SPIRIT. Acknowledging you have a spirit is a great start to looking after it.
You Spirit and Your Children
The other aspect to motherhood and spirituality is to do with what you pass on to your children – because it’s likely your children will learn about their spiritual selves from you. Lisa Miller is professor and director of clinical psychology at the Teachers College of Columbia University. In an interview, Lisa said, “Science shows women are central to the spiritual development of children and that their sense of connection to a God or higher power is the cornerstone of psychological thriving and resilience across their life span.”
So, scientific research indicates your understanding of spiritual things will be transferred to your children.
So, this is a heads up! It’s why it’s a good idea to get onto what spirituality looks like for you, and to look after your spirit, so that you can consciously transfer information that you have thought through and understood to your kids.
Professor Miller also said, “Children get plenty of good things from dad, but it’s the mother whose spiritual practices and observances really impact both daughters and sons, particularly daughters.” Interestingly, she also discovered that children who connect spiritually when young are “90 percent less likely to be depressed,” as teens or young adults. Yup. It’s a powerful combination.
What to do to Look after your SPIRIT
S is for Seek
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;
the one who seeks finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:7-8)
“Seek and you will find.” Sometimes, we just need to know. For ourselves.
Jesus promised he would answer if we want to find out about things. So . . . ASK Him! Even if all you want to do is find out some answers, so you can talk to your children when they start asking about God. Because one day, they will.
But in the end, it’s even more important to find out for yourself, so you can look after you spirit.
P is for Prayer
Pray, and Jesus will answer. He always answers, even if it isn’t the way we expected. Speaking with the Almighty God comes naturally to some, and not so much to others. For children it’s easy and obvious.
Sometimes it’s most natural to pray when you are at the end of your normal resources. That is, when you are in an emergency. But it doesn’t have to be like that. God made you, and more than that, He loves you. He wants to know you, so why not talk to Him?
Bedtime prayers were something that happened in our family before our children could even talk. It was about saying thank you for the day, and remembering the good things that had happened. As well, it was all about handing over the bad things to Him, and forgiving one other for the stuff we did to each other. It was all good to do. And all good learning.
I is for Identity
Your identity is so important. Don’t allow it to be swayed by the opinion of those around you, or the idea that there is no such thing as a spiritual self. If there is no such thing, then why do so many people get so involved learning about spiritual things? Perhaps this aspect of life is something you are yet to discover?
Joyce Meyer reflects, “Your personal identity—how you see yourself—is often shaped by your early experiences in life.” As a mother you oversee your child’s early experiences. Mothers instinctively want to help shape their children to being good, strong and wholesome, and that includes, body, mind AND spirit.
Knowing your own identity (who you are, really) allows you to confidently give your child the gift of a strong identity (knowing who they are, really). This involves understanding that you have a spirit, and you are actively nurturing it.
R is for Religion – Really?
It’s not the purpose of this blog to explain God, the Universe and Everything. But let me tell you what I believe. My understanding is that every person on this planet is on a search for meaning and purpose. And this search taps into your depths as you look after your spirit.
Your search will often make you feel as though there’s something missing in your life. So many, maybe you are one of them, are striving for the next thing in the hope it will fulfill them. They strive for the big job promotion, the enormous house, the overseas travel, the perfect marriage, a baby. Sadly, whenever they attain one of these goals, they discover it’s not IT, and usually end up disillusioned and disappointed.
This striving can also be a way of “earning” God’s love. Or trying to be good enough to get to heaven. Or knowing the right things to do to attain eternal peace. It’s all about searching for God. All these ideas are okay, but again they rely on you being good enough to get to God. This is the basis of the world’s religions –Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and others.
Christianity is the big exception.
Because, the basis of Christianity is the other way around. It’s God’s search for a relationship with you. He began with the Jewish people, making their nation great and giving them instructions for life on earth, and for living with each other. But eventually God came to earth as a man (that was Jesus), to live and love amongst his own creation. He did this to make the way for connection – close connection – with the ones he made. Knowing Jesus is the answer to your loneliness.
Christianity is NOT a religion, where man seeks God. Instead, God takes the initiative, and seeks out men and women like you and me.
“The central Christian belief is that Christ’s death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start. Theories as to how it did this are another matter. A good many different theories have been held as to how it works; what all Christians are agreed on is that it does work.”
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I is for Inspiration
One way to look after your spirit is to choose to be inspired. So, notice your spirit. Start being aware of when you know something, but you have no actual data for knowing. Or when you sense something beyond your own five physical senses. You could even begin a list of the moments you are aware of your spiritual self. Being mindful (as explained in Look After Your Mind) often taps into this part of yourself.
Inspiration is one way that God speaks to you. How do you hear God speaking? However, you usually do not hear God with your ears, although it happens like that sometimes. Usually, you hear God with your spirit.
Joyce Meyer says, “God wants to speak to you on a one-to-one basis every day. He wants to lead you to the good things He has in store for you.”
What’s not to love about the Creator of the Universe who wants to speak to you every day? God has good things in store for you. And this is why it makes sense to look after your spirit, so you can hear Him.
So . . . spend time praying, reading the Bible, talking to trusted friends about God-stuff. To look after your spirit is to put yourself in places where you can easily choose to be inspired.
T is for Trust
Trusting God is a very specific way to look after your spirit. Taking a step into faith is like being on a boat, leaving the shore behind. Yes, you are in the water, but you are not sinking, because you trust the boat will hold you up and keep you dry!
Trusting God is like that. You are held, and you are safe. Here is one of the most famous verses from the Bible about trusting God:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
Learning to trust God takes many forms. It’s about prayer, as mentioned above; it’s about love, and responding to God’s love for you. And it’s about daily connection and moment-by-moment leaning on God, just like you allow a boat to hold you safe.
Trusting God during your motherhood journey will make all the difference. He really does love you. You can ask him for help with anything!
Remember this . . .
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things . . . And the God of peace will be with you.
Have you ever been aware of the need to look after your spirit? What do you do? And how do you do it?
Moving right along – 20 Ways to Rock at being a Mother No 8: Choose JOY