I stood, staring at the front door to my workplace. It was a heavy door, and I knew it was going to hurt to open it. So I waited, praying someone else would come in or out. Until then, I was stuck. Still healing from abdominal surgery, I quickly became aware of how much I needed my core muscles. Every time I tried to cough, carry a bag, or even sit up in bed, I was in terrible pain. Once I healed, I knew I needed to find some exercises that would get my core back to normal.
But this isn’t about how to strengthen those core muscles. This is about your “other” core—your spirit, your beliefs, your faith. When tough times come and you’re faced with a big, heavy “closed door” in your life, you will want your spiritual core to be strong so you can get through it and find yourself still standing tall. Here are three ways to strengthen your core.
1. Decide to make your faith a priority in your life.
The things that get top priority in our lives get the biggest portion of our time, dedication, and resources. It’s easy for the entire day to slip by as we take care of work, school, children, and all our other commitments. Do I want my faith to be a real priority in my life? If so, it has to be a conscious decision. I have to start giving it some of my time. Carve out 10 minutes in the morning or find a time when you can multitask, like while doing laundry or driving. During this time, begin by praying for a deeper faith.
2. Feed your faith.
When you’re exercising and building muscle, you can help your body get the nutrition it needs by eating lots of protein and getting all the vitamins and minerals you can. But have you ever thought about what you’re feeding your faith? What are you bringing into your mind and spirit? Is it helping you to grow or is it spiritual junk food? For me, spiritual junk food is often TV shows, movies, or music that simply don’t have positive or inspiring messages. They might be entertaining (and even Doritos are an okay snack once in a while), but you aren’t going to thrive on a daily helping of them. Consider feeding your faith well through a steady diet of music, books, devotionals, or podcasts that are in line with your faith. Go to your place of worship as often as possible.
3. Exercise your faith.
Just like our physical muscles, when our spiritual muscles are stationary, they’re not getting stronger. When a certain muscle is ignored for too long, it starts to atrophy. It needs action. A good way to start is through conversations with other people. Talk about your faith. Explore your questions and seek out answers. Find others with a similar faith or a faith that inspires you and hang around them. Exercise through serving at your place of worship or out in your community. This demonstrates your faith.
And if finding the time to serve is difficult, then activate your core beliefs in everyday life. Look for opportunities at the grocery store, at work, in line at the DMV. Instead of just claiming you have certain beliefs, show them.
How do you feed or exercise your faith in everyday life?