Monthly Spiritual Exercises
Each month you can deepen your experience of our worship theme by engaging in the monthly spiritual exercise. If you are not part of the Soul Matters Circle, share your experience of the spiritual exercise with others on the “Friends of UCM” Facebook group, at coffee hour on Sundays, or even with your family and friends in your day-to-day life.
February Spiritual Exercises
Option A: Tip Toe Toward Trusting Yourself
Facing our fears takes a whole lot of self-trust. Getting over self-doubt can seem an impossible hurdle. That’s why some advise us to simply Ignore your doubts. “Jump!” “Take a leap of faith,” we’re told. “Go all in!”
But what if the secret path to overcoming our fears and believing in ourselves is not one big leap, but instead a bunch of baby steps? This exercise is all about those baby steps. Here’s your challenge in a nutshell:
Identify one of your core fears and then find one small way of facing it.
Or to put it another way:
Find one manageable way to build your ‘I believe in myself’ muscle!
Your options are endless.
- Fear that you’ll never get in shape? Forget getting back into the gym, just commit yourself to taking an hour long walk every Monday of this month.
- Is social anxiety your nemesis? Forget forcing yourself to go to those office parties and just make yourself invite a co-worker or two out for lunch.
- Terrified of public speaking? Don’t start by volunteering to do a lay sermon and instead sign up to teach a Lifespan Spiritual Exploration (LSE) class.
- Doubting your courage to pursue that entrepreneurial dream you’ve had for so long? Don’t quit your job and leap in. Instead simply commit to drawing up a business plan for it this month.
- Been afraid to stick up for your worth at work and ask for a raise? Don’t boldly walk into your boss’ office just yet. Instead just sit down and write the raise you want on a napkin and carry it around in your pocket all month.
- Been betrayed by a relationship, let down by the church community, or convinced that life just won’t get better? Sometimes life and the people around us just need to be given a second chance. This month pick an experience, person or group that you’ve lost faith in and risk giving it/them another try. First, talk about it with an empathic person – perhaps a family member, friend, counselor, or Lay Pastoral Care provider.
Bottom line: No need to jump into self-trust head first. Just tip toe toward it instead!
Option B: Express Your Faith Using One of the Following Modes
1). Six Word Faith: Sometimes talking about faith can wind us in circles. Ultimately, our faith is too complex, visceral and personal to be easily shared. But some have tried to sum up their faith in six words alone. It’s a practice that clarifies and amplifies what matters most to us. It helps remind us of and hold on to our deepest commitments. This month, try it for yourself. Come up with your own six words that describe your UU faith. Here are some inspiring examples:
2). Picture Your Faith: Forget trying to explain it. Sometimes faith is best expressed through images. This month think about what faith looks like for you. Find or take a picture of yourself or others “living faithfully.” Will it be an image of a singular person lost in prayer, a walk in the woods, two people holding hands, or two enemies putting down their guns? Whatever it is, come to your group with a photo and let it do the explaining for you. Here’s some inspiration: http://www.godvine.com/read/faith-in-humanity-114.html
3). A Love Letter to Life – A Daily Reminder Why Life is Trustworthy: Our ability to trust life is related not just to what happens to us but also what we choose to focus on. So this exercise invites us to use intentional focus to strengthen our trust in life. It’s a simple but impactful practice of writing a “love letter to life” at the end of each day. Here’s a link to an article that explains the ritual and its potential:
Try it out for a week or even two. Put your own spin on it.