We’re all facing an experience of grief, loss of control and forced change. It’s like we are fasting but we didn’t choose to. Having some of our freedoms removed and living in more confined spaces is undeniably challenging and often surfaces emotions we could previously quieten and perhaps even bury with comforts. All of this means it’s a time we need to guard our hearts. These spiritual practices are five ideas to help us keep soft-hearted and emotionally healthy.
You may like to name a moment of every day where you will reflect on whether you’ve been hurt by someone – something they said, did, didn’t do – and ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to forgive them. It’s worth then actually praying out loud: “Father, I forgive (x) for (y) and ask that you would soften my heart toward them again”
Pick a gratitude practice to cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving and gratefulness in your heart. It could be something like saying thank you to God for ten things before you get out of bed. It can help shift the trajectory of the whole day ahead.
A great deal of hard-heartedness can build up because we’ve hurt others but are too proud or driven by self-sufficiency to confess that and fall on the grace of God. Confessing our sins to God and to others we trust and asking to be forgiven is one of the most releasing things we can do. You could try finding a rhythm of doing this daily. I might look something: “I’m sorry (person/God) for (an attitude or action) – I’ve realised it wasn’t healthy: will you forgive me?”
Whether it is on paper or on a digital note-taking app, you may consider writing a brief daily entry of the things that happened that day, how they made you feel and noting down anything God might be saying to you in the midst of it.
Silence is perhaps one of the best ways we can become aware of our inner world and therefore allow God into it to heal it. We are normally moving at such a pace, with so many distractions to even notice whats going on in our hearts: silence quietens everything else down and allows that all to come to the surface. You could try naming what time of day you’ll try and be silent, where you’ll do it and for how long. Start small (5 minutes will be tough if you’ve never done it before!).