Renewing your spirit.

January 14, 2018

 

I realized as I started this series that I have never written about spirituality for the 6+ years I have been blogging. Mainly because this was always a design blog that I never intended to get personal on. However, its a topic that is integrated into every facet of my life. Our souls perhaps require the most care and attention, yet it is often what we are pushing aside or to the bottom of the priority list. It is hard to deny the presence of the soul in our human existence. It is what makes us come alive as human beings. It is the animating principle, and what activates our connections to the world around us. Whatever God or spirituality you believe in, your soul is what reaches towards it. That being said, let’s talk about the spiritual relationship that stems from the soul…

It has always fueled everything I do, and so it’s something that I wanted to address when it comes to whole being health. It’s impossible to talk about wholeness for me without including the glue that keeps it all together. Every person reading has a unique experience of spirituality, and probably a wide range of beliefs. (Which I love!) Since we each have our own story to tell, I hope in sharing part of mine, it gives you the opportunity to share yours too.

As human beings, we have a natural longing for more. Personally, I have experienced that even our best human relationships can never satisfy that deep space within me that can only can be filled by God. This understanding has always helped me not to put too much weight on my marriage or children, and to nurture my spirituality like a relationship. I have found God this way. Treating it as a relationship that I need to take care of has allowed God to have a presence in my life. When I ignore that relationship or am too busy for it, I can feel the difference. A restlessness begins to grow, and discontentment takes root. We can so easily get distracted and seek fulfillment in many different forms. Sometimes, they are good things! But I know no amount of success, thrill, or material possessions can ever fill that void because of the simple fact that I was created with a soul. There have been many long periods in my life where that part of me felt numb. The soul part of me didn’t feel anything when I would reach out to God, and I couldn’t find the connection. Maybe you can relate to an aspect of one of these:

– Grief, suffering, pain -> numbness, apathy, anger towards God
– Business, noise -> lack of time for prayer or reflection
– Mixed experiences -> confusion in feelings about faith

Just as with any relationship, you have to work hard at it. I often have had to look for the source of the barrier of what is keeping my soul from feeling alive.

My mom and dad were so good at sharing the beauty of faith while also allowing us the space to discover it for ourselves. They put their faith and spirituality in action, and that was my first experience of what it means to live by example. As I began to seek truth, and what it meant for me personally as I got older, a strong foundation and trust began to form between God and myself. I knew He was on my side. I started to see Him in small and big things. I understood that He created me for good and to be happy, and that He knew me better than anyone else. This trust became a deep love for God even when life got really hard. I knew suffering was what God never intended for the world, and that our sorrows are also His. So despite many of these obstacles I have experienced in my soul, I have also seen the steadiness and devotion to which God gives himself both to world and to us personally.

Some of the most tangible experiences of God in my life were on my wedding day, and the birth of my children. I could feel within every fiber of my being that God was there when Gabe and I said our vows. I got a glimpse of Him through the face of each of my babies when He entrusted them to my care. I have seen Him in the goodness of friends and strangers. Even on my darkest days filled with the heaviest tears I knew God was catching each one. It’s the consistent, unconditional, steady love that has won my heart over for life. It’s a love that is always inviting me to look for truth in all I do. It motivates me as a wife, mother, friend, daughter, and yes, even as a blogger. However, why is this relationship so easily muffled and quieted?

I realized over the hectic pace of the last few years that it was easy for me to leave that on the bottom of my priority list because it isn’t as tangible as a to-do list right in front of me. Everything else seemed to need immediate attention. But if I have time to reach for my phone and scroll for ten minutes in the morning, I have time to set aside for both conversation and silence with God. So during this time of resetting for whole being health, I looked at all of the distractions in my life that were getting in the way of this relationship, and started to work on removing them. (ie: No screens for the first hour I wake up or before I go to bed, visual reminders on my bedside table, spiritual podcasts, books, devotionals..)

I also started focusing on what makes my soul come alive! I feel alive when I run, dance, create, or sing. I feel my soul come alive near the mountains or bodies of water. I am energized by a date with my husband, service work, or time with good friendships. These are things that shouldn’t be put aside when they are what draw us closer to God. When our souls are fed, we find ourselves more motivated and encouraged in all other areas of our life. If our minds and bodies are the vehicle, our soul is the fuel that starts the engine;) I would love to hear what has made your soul come alive this year, what you are seeking more of, and how you are nurturing the spirit! I learn so much from you all.

Thanks for reading, and I wish you all a restful Sunday!

In case you missed: Part 1: Caring for the Mind, Part 2: Rebuilding from the inside out.

Leave a Comment

  • I loved reading this – such a beautiful piece of writing! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • This is so beautiful. I have spent so many years ignoring this aspect of life and saying that it did not matter because it is not tangible and I was angry. But, after totally burning out this fall, I have started to rethink. I cannot change my job or responsibilities, but I need a counterbalance to find a purpose again.

    Thank you so much for this series. I have always loved the design and fashion aspect of your blog, but this series is coming at a really needed time. Also, I feel like this is seeing the humanity behind all of the gorgeous pictures and I appreciate it.

    • Anita, thank you for reading and the kind words! I grew a little weary of the standard way of blogging;) My life is continually changing, I am always messing up, and I have so much to learn! I hope these posts only encourage anyone else also experiencing these things. Sometimes it helps knowing we are in the battle alongside others! x

  • Anna I am so humbled + inspired by your transparency in faith. While I know you may not have shared it openly on this forum, it still evidently permeates how you do life, marriage, raise your children. You’ve created this unique space so beautifully and i have to believe that’s part of God’s love shining through you. Thank you for all you do!

    xx,
    Leslie

    • Leslie, I often feel like I can’t speak about things the way I would like to, so I appreciate that so much. Thank you for always being so uplifting!

  • Part of why I admire and read your blog is your passion. You can tell with both your writing and posts that you have a deep faith. I also need to address more of the things that are sometimes hard to carve out time for as a SAHM that spark my soul! For me, painting, yoga and taking a walk with the dogs listening to a great song! I hope this posts encourages others to do the same. Loved this series so much!

    • Those are all wonderful things! I totally relate…..some days are just about surviving. So even if it is just the weekends, I am fighting hard for doing things that reach that part of me that often gets put aside. Thank you for reading the series Kathryn! x

  • Great post. My soul is in bad shape and this gives me some perspective on what I could do to change it or at least ways to tackle the problem. My work life is a disaster and so time consuming that – not to sound overly dramatic – I feel dead inside. I’m going through motions without connecting with the people and space around me and definitely ignoring myself. My cousin started a self love saturday series and I literally have no answers to offer to her questions because I just don’t know right now. But it’s a new day and a new week so here’s to renewed focus, energy and purpose.

    • Carrie, I am so sorry to hear that. I experienced something similar before. The numbness would often bring tears to my eyes because I knew I wasn’t whole. I am hoping you find a piece of renewal this year. x

  • This is a great post – so uplifting and a great reminder to re-center our days. I am looking forward to ordering this lent journal and am hoping to make it a priority. https://blessedisshe.net/shop/

  • Souls touch – thank you for touching mine today. Your family is so special to my heart

  • Anna, your blog and Instagram are very meaningful places for me to read and reflect when so much of social media feels like noise I want to run away from. Thank you for mixing things up and sharing even deeper than you usually do. I am in a very dark valley right now and want you to know that your words have been a safe place for me and bring me comfort. I admire your mission. I’m inspired by who you are and how you express and live out your faith. Your authenticity is magnetic and I love the moments you share of your beautiful, messy family life. I crack up at the goofy videos you and your husband make. It’s refreshing to not take the internet so seriously. 🙂 thank you for your transparency and heart. It means more than you know.

  • You are such an inspiring person. Thank you for sharing and speaking so much truth. As a busy mom it’s hard to always make time for yourself and take care of yourself. All the noise around us makes for an easy distraction. I have been seeking to get closer to god and clear the noise and really learn what is my purpose and the purpose for our family. Last year was an extremely tough year for our family and our faith was tested, but we continued to remind ourselves God never gives us more than we can handle. So, this year we are seeking more of God and teaching our children to love and trust God as well. Thank you again for sharing your faith with us!

  • This is awesomeness, thank you. I hope you keep posting more about this. Can you recommend any of the podcasts you’re referring to? I heard you on Jen Fulwieler and started following you immediately! You’re pretty amazing!

    ~ Nicole

  • This past year has had its ups and downs, I often sometimes feel in a rut or on auto pilot.
    Lately I’ve really tried to be more in tune with what’s really important and trying to get rid of the white noise. I have realized that my base and my foundation is and always needs to be God. When things get overwhelming or I feel like I just can’t move in life I return to the most simple (but often neglected) and that’s talking with God, releasing my fears and doubts and focusing on his Love. I’ve also been really trying to focus on his word and setting aside time to just read, wether it be a lil or a lot… I think it’s important to read and study the word ourselves (I try to encourage my kids to also do the same)
    Also trying to surround my self with positive music… music plays a huge part on my mental state. If I’m in a funk I try to uplift my self with music…it’s such a powerful tool!
    I have a lot going on… too much to write. But you’ve touched on so much already. Thank You for your uplifting, loving, and honest words❣️

  • Wow. Such a moving post, thank you so much for opening your heart! You have really inspired me to go deeper in my relationship with God. I get so caught up in school and busyness that prayer has recently been at the bottom of my priority list but if a crazy busy mom can make time then so can I 🙂 Thank you also for your contagious joy in motherhood and your awareness of the blessings in life! The world needs more of you 😉 Thank you so much for inspiring me!

  • So beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  • Beautiful! I love this! Thank you for sharing it!

  • Thank you for this! Without spirituality life would not be what it is-an amazing time to feel God’s love in so many ways. Not to discount the hardness of life-but this is so important, as an individual, a wife a mother. I so appreciate this!

  • […] I really, really loved this one — Renewing Your Spirit […]

  • Anna,

    Thank you so much for this series on wholistic wellbeing and especially this post on spirituality! In the past few months I have had to hit the “reset” button. I felt like I was running around in circles trying to figure out why I felt so empty (even though I am a believer). Thankfully, through His grace, God showed me that all my focus was on me. Me me me. He has been showing me how to turn to Him. I have been reading more, praying more….I am a work in progress but still, making this change has helped change my outlook and I am so thankful. I love what you said about putting trust in God and taking the weight off marriage, family, and other things in life. We so often expect perfect from these things when really it can only be found in God.

    Thanks Anna!

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