Is your prayer life getting boring? Are you getting just a little too comfortable with your daily spiritual routines, whether that be in your prayer, going to mass, or talking to others about your faith? Sometimes, well probably most times, we need a kick in the butt to get our spiritual selves back in shape. If you find yourself getting lost in complacency from the daily spiritual grind, here are five ways to take your spiritual life from complacent to clutch:
1. Start Early
There are few struggles harder for me than leaving the warmth of a nice bed in the morning. However, it is the first opportunity of the day for a win over comfort. Each morning, I find myself fighting the urge to hit the snooze at 6:00am, just yearning for a few more minutes of luxury instead of popping out of bed ready to take on the day by storm. I live with a group of guys, and we start the day with breakfast together at 6:30, followed by Morning Prayer in the chapel at 7:00. I find no better way to start the day than with exercising one's relationship with the Lord. Get up, get out, and turn to God for strength and perseverance as you approach the work of the day.
2. Do New
Another way to avoid falling into comfort and complacency is by mixing things up. It is natural for us to want newness, and if it brings us further out of our ruts, then it is a win-win. As Christians, we are called to share our faith with the people that surround us. Oftentimes this can look like simply meeting people on campus and running small groups, but that can lose its appeal. My friends and I purchased an inflatable raft and we take people on rafting adventures down the creek right in our backyard. People are looking for unique, creative, and new experiences. Instead of getting bogged down in a trench, trudging along in things that have become boring and the daily grind, go get creative and "do new."
I would be remiss if I didn't mention growth in the spiritual life. I would like to propose a practical, tangible way of discomfort that can help you stretch spiritually: fasting. The aim of fasting is to unite your own small suffering with the suffering of Christ. When we fast, we eliminate attachments to food and open ourselves up spiritually to God. We empty ourselves of our desires for material things and become more open to hearing, obeying, and loving God. Though not the primary goal of fasting, another effect of this added discomfort is self-discipline. If you can conquer the small temptation of food, you can have more control in larger temptations to be endured. I encourage you to take the time to pray and ask the Lord in what ways you could fast in order to orient your whole being more toward His will.
4. No Lone Wolf
Perhaps the thing I have found most helpful in sharing my faith with others is knowing that I am not in it alone. The three men in my house (Sam, Jacob, and Zachary) are studs in this area. It is easy to stay still, get comfortable, and accomplish little. Having a team of brothers all working toward the same goal (bringing Christ closer to the hearts of others) helps to keep one accountable and constantly moving. Proverbs 27:17 says that, "as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another". We push each other to conquer complacency. One of the strongest qualities of Saint Paul's Outreach is building life-changing communities on mission together. I am extremely grateful to not be a lone wolf, but to be a part of a team. Seek a community with whom you can run forward, not settling for adequacy, but striving for excellence.
5. Celebrate Wins
I am not saying to be constantly uncomfortable. Anyone would surely get burnt out. It is important to take times of comfort to celebrate the mere fact that you exposed yourself to a challenge, regardless if you succeeded or not. If you celebrate the soreness from hardship, you are more likely to get back out there in enduring labor. You are building mental toughness and becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Being uncomfortable is not an attractive or appealing idea. That's the whole point of the word: not comfortable. But you know deep down, the pain is well worth the gain. Just always remember to have the big picture in mind to keep you pushing through.
"At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it." - Hebrews 12:11