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Reviving Your Faith


Apparently, Yogi Berra, the great catcher for the New York Yankees, used to talk a lot of noise! His goal was to be a distraction to the batter by saying mean, irritating, and offensive things to try and take the batter’s focus off the ball. 

One time, Yogi Berra was behind the plate, and Hank Aaron came up bat. Yogi said on this one occasion, “All right, Hank is getting ready to bat.” Hank wouldn’t say anything to him.

Yogi continued, “Hank, you’ve got the writing on the bat in the wrong place. The words should be facing you.” Yogi wanted to get Hank to look at the bat to make sure it was in the right place.

Yogi kept going, “You better check it.” Hank didn’t budge. He didn’t say a word. Then he hit the next pitch over the centerfield fence. Hank rounded the bases, stepped on home plate, and began walking toward the dugout.

He stopped, turned back, looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come here to read.”

We must remember why we are here.

Resisting the distractions that keep us from our purpose and becoming who God calls us to be is a relentless, never-ending battle. But when it comes to faith and spiritual disciplines, even our best efforts can leave us feeling stagnant, disconnected, and uninspired. Whether because of life’s challenges, mundane routine, or simply the passage of time, it’s natural to experience periods where our spiritual fervor diminishes. 

However, just as the seasons always change, so too can our spiritual landscapes be rejuvenated. Listed below are a few strategies for refreshing and renewing your faith when the “blahs” come creeping. Whenever I’ve found myself in the doldrums spiritually, one of these ideas usually helps me reignite, recover, and deepen the connection to the Spirit of God that lives in us. 

Remember and Rehearse

1 Samuel 30 begins with David and his 600 men making a three-day return-journey to Ziklag, where they expected to find some rest and joy at home with their families. Instead, they found their hometown burned and plundered and their wives and children taken captive. Everyone and everything they loved and valued were gone.

David’s faithful men were so angry and heartbroken that they turned on him, blaming and even speaking of stoning him! 1 Samuel 30:6 (KJV) says:

And David was greatly distressed; the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

How did David, in the face of all this adversity, encourage himself?

It’s simple…he remembered!

He remembered how Yahweh had saved him from the lion and the bear when he was a boy looking after his father’s sheep. He remembered how Yahweh, through the prophet Samuel, appointed him the next king of Israel. He remembered how Yahweh had enabled him to defeat Goliath against overwhelming odds. And he remembered how Yahweh had continually delivered him from the murderous hands of Saul.

David put himself through the process of remembering what God had done. And, having rehearsed it in his mind, he found strength and encouragement in the face of very intense difficulties.  

Remembering what God has done in our lives and rehearsing it—both internally and externally so that our ears can hear it (Romans 10:17) could prove as helpful to us as it was to King David.

Cultivate a Gratitude Practice

Consistently and earnestly practicing gratitude has mental, spiritual, and physical benefits. Frequently and intentionally expressing gratitude to both God and other humans can literally change your brain and your life.

How does this work? Author and life coach Tara Massan explains it like this: 

You may have heard of the saying, “Those who play together, stay together.” It’s basically the same for your brain and gratitude…within your brain is an assortment of synapses that are separated by an empty space. This empty space is called the synaptic cleft. When you have a thought or an emotion, one synapse shoots a chemical across the empty space to another synapse, which in turn creates a bridge where an electrical signal can cross…when this electrical charge is triggered again, the synapses grow closer together. In a sense, your brain is changing and rewiring itself to make it easier for you to process that thought (in this case: gratitude).

So gratitude is like a brain muscle. The more you train it, the stronger it becomes. 

Tara’s description of how neuroplasticity works suggests that practicing gratitude over time will rewire our minds and bring about the life change promised to us in Romans 12:2—“be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

One simple way to develop a gratitude practice is by taking a few minutes every morning and evening to focus and reflect on the people and things that you’re grateful for in your life. Start small but be consistent, perhaps only focusing on three things per session to start.  

Developing your “gratitude muscle” will rewire your brain, changing how you see the world, the people in it, and the curve balls that life sometimes throws our way.

Train to grow gratitude! It may not come naturally, but finding ways to cultivate gratitude can re-wire your brain. Learn about the Prayer of Examen and how it can be your secret guide to gratitude.