Spring is a time to start fresh after months of cold weather and short days. And with spring comes the annual ritual of spring-cleaning our homes from top to bottom in order to start anew.
But while we spend so many tireless hours making sure our physical homes are in order, what are we doing about our spiritual homes? Spiritual spring-cleaning is a way for us to deepen our relationship with God, grow our faith, and connect with our church community.
Here are 5 tips to help you put your spiritual house in order this spring:
Step One: Renew Your Mind – Take Out the Trash
Many of us struggle with negative thoughts, sinful behaviors, and animosity towards our fellow man. Cleaning out this area of our lives can be the most difficult, but also the most rewarding.
As negative thoughts flood in, make an effort to replace them with positive thoughts, prayers, or Scripture passages that speak against them.
As we are tempted to be dragged into sin, ask God for the strength to resist and be willing to say “no” to people in your life that are enabling your sin. And if you do sin, do not allow it to overwhelm you or distract you from Jesus. Simply give it over to Him and start over.
And as we feel animosity towards our fellow man, remember Jesus’ call for us to love one another as ourselves. One of the best ways I’ve found to deal with this struggle is to pray for the person right in the moment—if I am continually praying for God to bless someone and to encourage them, I often find that my negative feelings start to fade away over time.
Step Two: Forgive those who have wronged you
Unforgiveness and bitterness can completely weigh us down, overwhelm us, and prevent us from living a strong spiritual life. Jesus went so far as to say that if you are at church offering a gift to God and remember someone you need to forgive, that you are to leave the church and be reconciled to them.
Forgiveness is an extremely difficult thing to do, but it is also an extremely Christian thing to do, as we worship a Savior who forgave even those who put him to death, and who forgives us our sins and shortcomings. So keep Christ in your mind and let go because harboring that bitterness is only hurting you.
Pray for the person who has wronged you. Forgive them directly in person or over the phone if it safe to do so, remembering that you are releasing yourself and connecting to God by doing as He would do.
Step Three: Dust off your Bible
The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus is the Word of God, so what better place to encounter Him than in the pages of Scripture?
If you don’t regularly read your Bible, don’t allow guilt to stand in the way of getting started. Set small goals (like reading through the Gospel of John) and make new goals as you go along. Even if you can only spend a few minutes a day reading, God can redeem that time and use it to grow your faith
If you do read your Bible regularly already, set a goal to read a few more minutes a day or to read through the entire New Testament by the end of summer. Be intentional about what you read and always seek out new insights as God speaks to you through the Word.
Step Four: Connect with the Mass
The Mass is the center of all things, bringing the love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ into the present moment, connecting us with the eternal every single week. Many of us miss out on the beauty and holiness of the Mass and the depper meaning behind the structure, prayers, rituals, and readings.
Make an effort this spring to connect with the beauties of the Mass, whether through participating in an RCIA class, through books and resources, or by sitting down with a priest or deacon and ask them to share.
This is one step that I promise will help you have an entirely new appreciation for the Mass and will open your spiritual eyes to how God works through every moment.
Step Five: Let prayer cleanse you
The idea that we can come before the throne of God in prayer is beyond incredible. Establishing a healthy prayer life can transform our lives and keep us spiritually fresh throughout the year.
One of the keys to incorporating prayer into your daily life is to start small, setting aside a few minutes each day where you can be alone with God. Over time you can then build on that foundation.
Prayer can also be done anywhere—during your morning commute, with family and friends, while taking walks, etc. Another great place to pray is right in the house of God, so consider arriving for Mass a few minutes early each week and spending those moments in communion with God.