When I lived in the Midwest, tornado sirens were tested once a month. Without fail, hearing those sirens caused me a few moments of panic. My heart began to race as I thought about where my family members were and where I should go for safety. Then I remembered the monthly test and felt grateful I was not experiencing an actual emergency.
Increasingly, the world seems to become a more turbulent place. Whether more are reported by media or are occurring more often, natural disasters have become the norm. Like tornadoes and typhoons, spiritual whirlwinds can also leave you feeling lost and uncertain. With faith as your anchor, you can withstand any storms life brings. Try nurturing your faith in these 5 ways.
1. Rely on experiences you've had with God
When you begin to doubt or feel your faith wavering, think about the way God has blessed your life in the past. I have had several personal spiritual experiences I can recall, when needed. Some of these are written in my journal, so I read previous entries when I'm feeling doubtful. Remembering specific experiences and feelings of love helps me.
2. Worship regularly
Some people attend church to worship God. Others have their own personal rituals at home. My neighbors invite members of their church over for a weekly Bible study in their home. I read scriptures and pray with my family each night. These regular patterns of worship help me maintain my faith and relationship with God. Find ways to worship regularly and consider ways that are new to you, like meditation.
3. Have friends with similar values
Sometimes standing up for what you think is right makes you feel like you are standing alone. If you cultivate relationships with people who value the same things as you, you will have a network of support, particularly if your beliefs seem to go against what the world is choosing. My friends help me make good choices as I live my beliefs.
4. Notice miracles and mercies in your life
One of the best ways to nurture your faith is to see the miracles that are happening in your life. If you look closely, you'll begin to notice the ways God blesses you daily. I find that praying for the ability to see miracles and mercies makes me more aware of them. Some daily mercies I've noticed include having more patience with my children, a success for my husband at work and a beautiful sun break on a rainy day. I'm also inspired by stories of people serving and helping each other.
Faith is nurtured when it is tried. When you struggle, pray more often for strength. Serve others and help them develop faith. Be a person who answers the prayers of others. Faith can be built by doing hard things, learning the word of God and trusting God to lead you in your life.
Whenever natural disasters strike, there is terrible damage. There are also stories of impossible grace and human love. Keep your faith strong no matter what storms rage around you by nurturing it. Then you can bless others with your strength.
Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.