The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
I keep it no secret that although I enjoy gardening, I am no master gardener. In fact, any plants that go into my back yard are mostly on their own once they go into the dirt. I occasionally water. I don’t fertilize. I rarely prune & groom. And…my garden looks about like you would expect!
And here’s the deal. Our faith is very similar. You get what you put into it!
If we only occasionally attend worship, and especially when we expect or even demand to be entertained or inspired, then chances are we are anticipating a bountiful crop from an untended vine. What I’ve noticed for myself, too, is that when I walk away disappointed with a particular worship service, I have had to admit that I have been leaning on Sunday mornings to be my only spiritual nourishment.
It’s just not enough.
Experiencing the Holy, noticing Divine synchronicity, feeling spiritually grounded happens when we actively tend to our faith.
This means in addition to attending worship that we commit to a daily spiritual practice like intentional prayer time (not just praying on the fly, which has it’s own value but doesn’t enable a deeper time with the Holy). We read a devotional each day that offers words of wisdom that may find their way into the day in unexpected ways. We listen to religious or spiritual music as a wonderful way to nourish the soul and reflect on our faith. As I’ve written before in the past, even seeking a Holy message in secular music can be satisfying, if not a surprising way to tend to ourselves. And equally important, we spend time with other spiritual sojourners (in a prayer and share group or Bible Study). Often God speaks to us through their witnessing, their prayers, their understanding of scripture. As we receive encouragement and support in our own walk and can, in return, provide the same to others on their own spiritual journey. We grow together!
So…How’s that tending the soul going in your life? Is your spiritual garden in need of some TLC…some weeding or watering or fertilizing?
What I continue to learn in my work as a hospice chaplain and in my own life, is that when our faith is tended to, when time is being spent in prayer, and study, and fellowship, there is a resiliency, a core strength that grows, enabling us to endure the hardest of times and delight in the best of times.
And with that I say, “Let’s get going!”
Put on those gardening gloves, get into your spiritual garden, and start tending to it.
You will be grateful you did!