My family went for a period of about 2-3 months when we played Scrabble all the time. Many evenings when homework was done, we would gather at our table and play it. We had a lot of fun doing it for a while and then suddenly we never did it again. And that’s ok.
We had a few other things we tried along the way, too. For a year or two, we would drive over to Radnor Lake to walk around the trails. Periodically, we did the same thing at Long Hunter State Park. The one trend that I think we all were glad to end was when we use to go camping in a decades-old tent and inevitably got rained on every time. I haven’t camped and haven’t desired to ever since.
As I got into high school and my great-grandparents were in declining health, we spent time with them on a weekly basis. Eventually one of them passed, and then the other, and that chapter in our life was closed, but we’ve never had any regrets about the extra efforts we put in to encourage them or stay connected in their later years.
Every family has its faults, and all of us have some ways in which our upbringing has given us both positive and negative tendencies. But the one thing to prioritize as a family is that we will keep reaching for ways to connect and enjoy each other. Over time, those ways will change and become different but hopefully, we keep trying and adapting.
Your life is going to have seasons to it. Some things will appeal to you for a while, and if they provide you opportunities to connect or create meaning, then go ahead and go for it. If they cease, or start to become stale, it’s ok when you need to move on.
When it comes to spiritual growth, it is important to do what works. I’ve had seasons of my life where I was praying out loud every time I drove anywhere in the car. One summer in college, most of my growth came from trying to memorize a chunk of the book of James. I’ve had other seasons where I would often read larger Old Testament books through in one sitting. I’m currently in a season where I’m finding more connections to God through people who provide some spiritual mentorship for me and through the process of journaling about my life. I don’t think God would insist that I pick one over another. I think God just wants me to pick him.
The one thing that needs to be constant in your spiritual life is that you continue reaching for God. It is in the persistent pursuit of God that we stay aware of the gentle ways in which God is at work in us and through which God can gradually shape us.
If one thing starts to feel dry to you, then give yourself permission to try something new. And of course, if something has always worked for you and still works for you, there’s value in long-standing patterns and traditions.
A few ideas to consider:
- Where is it that God and I are connecting right now?
- When is it that I feel closest to God?
- What is something I could do to connect with God that I haven’t tried in a long time?
- What is a way I could reach for deeper vulnerability with God? What have I been avoiding?
- If God were to talk about some of his favorite memories with me, what might they be?
- If I were going to do something special for God today, as if for a treasured friend, how could I be spontaneous about it?