By Sharon Wilson
It is January 10th and we may or may not have kept our New Year Resolutions. Many people make resolutions to lose weight, exercise or save money, but what about our spiritual lives?
Here is a list of 10 Spiritual Resolutions that can change your life!
- Pray Every Day. Some of you may already to this, but if you are like me sometimes in the morning rush I miss out on my 10 minutes of prayer with a promise to myself to get to it later. Start the new year right and get up earlier and start the day right.
- Pray Before Bed. Just like starting your day right, it is important to end your day right.
- The Examen or Evening Reflection was written by St. Ignatius Loyola. The Examen is a daily process for prayerfully reflecting on your day. It is five simple steps to reflect on your day that change your 2018.
-Remember God’s presence.
-Respond to Him with thanks.
-Reflect on how God showed Himself to you.
-Repent of your failings.
-Resolve to grow.
- Keep a Prayer Journal. God’s presence is all around us, but we sometimes don’t recognize it. Keeping a prayer journal is a great way to see His work in your life. Keeping a prayer journal is easy. Take a few moments after prayer to jot down your thoughts and anything that has been revealed to you in your prayer. Take some time weekly or monthly to look for themes in your life and prayer. Jot down the names or situations you are praying for, notice God’s responses, give thanks for answered prayers.
- Go to Confession. Centuries ago, it was customary to begin the New Year with a spotlessly clean house. Thus, houses were thoroughly cleaned as it signified a fresh start to the New Year. A clean house is good, but what about a clean soul? Start the new year right and get to confession! Better yet, resolve to go once a month!
- Spend Less Time with Your Computer or Phone. This may sound like a secular and not spiritual resolution but spending less time on screens and more time with people (or in prayer) will improve your spiritual life. There are some great things on Facebook and on the internet (like WINE) but if you find yourself wasting time scrolling or in envy of other’s lives, then you are not living your own life abundantly! “I have come so that they may have life, and have it abundantly” John 10:10
- Read Spiritual Books. Spiritual reading plays an important role in our lives. Just as our bodies need exercise and good food, so do our hearts, minds, and souls. Sign up for our Read Between the WINE’s Book Club or check our recommended reading titles.
- Plan a Retreat. Just like planning a vacation for your family, planning a retreat for yourself needs to be a priority. The new year is a great time to make those plans. They can be as simple as spending a day at a nearby convent or monastery or taking a week long overnight retreat. Check with your diocese or ask your pastor for ideas on where to go and get it on a calendar. Or check out any WINE Retreats near you.
- Give. Plan to give of yourself this year. The old adage of time, talent and treasure is not just a ploy to get you to volunteer for the church or give money to keep it running. Giving of ourselves is an expression of our love to God and all he has given us—which is everything! When I had been suffering a bout of depression, my priest suggested I volunteer at a homeless shelter or food shelf. It knocked me out of my own self-pity when I saw lives less fortunate than mine. When cash is short—I am reminded that I am richer than 90% of the planet and even though my life is crazy busy, just think how difficult it would be if I spent the day looking for food to eat to survive.
- Rest and Sleep. On the 7th day God rested and so should we. Sleep and rest is healing. Check out this post by Fr. Mike Schmitz on getting enough sleep. But to give ourselves the time to rest we may need to make room in our lives. Say NO. We all should pattern our lives after Mary’s great “Fiat” by saying yes to Jesus. But saying yes to one thing may necessitate saying no to others. In the WINE companion journal to Lisa Hendy’s book “The Grace of Yes” I wrote:
“The other lesson that I have learned in the grace of no has been that my well thought out ‘No’ leaves open a yes to other things. I heard a priest friend of mine answer the question about his celibacy to a group of teenagers when they asked him how he could have decided to become a priest and say ‘no’ to a wife and children. His response was. ‘When a man does decide a ‘yes’ to marriage that automatically means a ‘no”’to all other women in his life.’ In that way a yes becomes a no to other things and a no becomes a yes to new possibilities.”
About the Author:
Sharon Wilson – Wife, Mother, Writer, Catholic Speaker, and a WINE Specialist. Sharon has a degree in education and has worked as a freelance writer, Respect Life Coordinator, a teacher, in advertising, radio, buyer and in youth advocacy – She even rode an elephant in the circus once! Sharon speaks, writes and shares about God’s healing and about the great gift of being Catholic at SharonAgnesWilson.com.
Wow. What a list Sharon!! So good.
Let’s see I am blessed to have encompassed many of these practices with past Spiritual Resolutions. I am still definitely NOT getting enough rest and do not give enough of myself (especially for tasks I dislike doing). Those will be the 2 I focus on this, while being attentive to maintain the others I have adopted as well!
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I like this;. The one thing I want to add is to be thankful. We should remember to be thankful for things evene in hard times, It is so easy to do this and it does help make life easier when Christ is closer and the stress goes away! Thank you so much.
Such great reminders, Sharon–thank you! You’re the kind of friend I like having. 🙂