It was so fun to do Challenge Your Mind with some of you this past month! I hope that those of you who took on this challenge learned the importance of lifelong learning and reaped the benefits of improving your intellectual health. Hopefully you formed some intellectual habits that you can continue in the future and feel inspired to keep learning for years to come. I also hope that exercise and kindness are still at work in your life if you took part in past challenges with me as well!
November is quickly approaching as are the holidays! This is my favorite time of the year with all of the festivals, parades, pumpkin patch outings, cooler weather, and just a general merrier feeling in the atmosphere! This time of year can go by so fast for some of us and become a whirlwind of activities, family gatherings, presents, food preparations, and decorating! For others, it can be a little more lonely and subdued, as this is the time of year when the days get shorter, the weather gets too cold, and we begin missing those that we won’t get to see over the holidays for one reason or another. No matter which end of this “holiday feelings” spectrum you fall on, I think it’s a great time to slow down, to really appreciate the blessings we have in life, and to put our focus back on what truly matters to us.
And so I bring you November’s challenge: Challenge Your Soul. The challenge? Incorporate spiritual health exercises or practices into your life every day for the month of November. The goal? To improve your spiritual health, align your life more closely with your purpose, and create spiritual habits that you will continue incorporating into your life for years to come.
“How does this affect our health?” you ask? If you don’t know much about Wholee Healthy or haven’t heard about holistic health, I invite you to follow these links to read more about them! The basic concept of holistic health is that every area of our lives is intertwined and constantly affecting one another. The six dimensions of health that Wholee Healthy focuses on are: physical health, mental/emotional health, spiritual health, environmental health, social health, and intellectual health. In August, we did an Exercise Challenge for our physical health, in September, we did the Kindness Challenge for our social health, in October we have been doing Challenge Your Mind for our intellectual health, and finally, in November we will be doing Challenge Your Soul for our spiritual health. If you’d like to do any of these or more past challenges, you can do those this month too! Grab a friend and start a challenge today to improve an area of your life. See how making positive improvements in one area can positively affect your life as a whole!
Challenge Your Soul: We all come from very different backgrounds, have very different beliefs, have very different goals, and each have a unique purpose for our lives. However, each of us can work to improve our spiritual health. Now, the word “spiritual” sometimes throws people off because it can mean different things to different people. To some, spiritual means religion, faith, worship, and church. To others, it means meditation, deep breathing, relaxation, and calm. To others still, it seems silly, unsupported by science, frilly, and meaningless. And then, there are those who feel it more so refers to our purpose, goals, values, and the meaning of life. What exactly does “spiritual” mean? The dictionary defines “spiritual” as “relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things. “I’m responsible for his spiritual welfare” “the spiritual values of life”.” So, it means different things to different people and they are all right. Spiritual health is aligning the way in which you are living with your values, your soul, your belief about the meaning of life, and your purpose.
So, how exactly do we go about improving this? I first invite you to ask yourself a few questions: What is your purpose in life? What do you want your family and friends to remember you for/ how are your actions aligned with the person you truly want to be? What happens to us when we die? Why are we here? These are very deep questions, but if you haven’t thought about them before, if you haven’t thought about them recently, or if you can’t answer them, it is a great time to think them through! After you answer these questions, start taking action to align your life with your purpose and with the person you want to be. This will look vastly different for each of us, so it makes this challenge very open-ended. But, I will give you examples and ideas for how you can go about making small, deliberate changes to better align your life with your morals, values, ultimate goals, and purpose in life.
Challenge Your Soul is a deep, meaningful challenge, so take some time to consider what you can do this month to create better spiritual habits and to better align your life to your overall purpose! But, after you take that initial time to contemplate, don’t feel that this challenge needs to take up too much of your time if you lead a busy life! Don’t underestimate the power of 10 minutes a day of deep breathing, prayer, quiet time, studying the Bible, or meditation. Taking this small amount of time out of each day can help you keep your priorities aligned with your purpose and help you to refocus your energy on what truly matters to you!
My plan: I am a Christian, so to improve my spiritual health, I will be spending time doing devotions each day with Sarah Young’s Jesus Always devotional book that focuses on leading a joyful life. I read her Jesus is Calling devotional book a few years ago and loved it, so I’m excited to get started! I’ve also decided to extend the challenge past the 10 minutes a day, and be having quiet time a few days a week to meditate on God’s word and my life’s purpose. Additionally, I am joining a parenting group at my church to build relationships with other believers to build support and encouragement as we raise our children. I can feel my life start to stray down the wrong paths every time I get further away from God (not praying as often, skipping church, not getting involved in church or otherwise God-centered activities throughout the week, etc). One of my favorite authors, speakers, and pastors, Rick Warren, has a great way for Christians to consider their spiritual life with God: lots of prayer/lots of help, some prayer/some help, little prayer/little help, and no prayer/no help. I think it’s kind of funny to think about it this way, but have also felt how true this can be in my life!
When I am close to God and really intentionally relying on him throughout my day, I have amazing days filled with opportunities to praise him, seek him for guidance with problems, and see opportunities (from good or bad sources) to fulfill my purpose and live according to my values. On the days I am not intentionally focused on him, my temper can flare, I get stressed, I give in to temptations, I fail to spread God’s love, and I feel overwhelmed by the problems and evil in the world and in my own life. God is my source of life, and he is where I draw my purpose, my values, my morals, and the structure of the person I want to be. Therefore, in November, I will be committing more time to improving my relationship with God and other believers to help me live a life more aligned with him.
For others who have beliefs, faith, or religion, you may choose similar spiritual habits. It may be reading the Bible daily, praying daily, joining a Bible study, finding a church to attend regularly, going on a mission trip, volunteering at your church in some capacity, starting a Bible study or ministry at your church, organizing a food drive, or a combination of a few of these. What are some of your ideas?! Comment below if you have ideas of how we can improve our faith and spiritual health this month!
For those of you who do not have faith or an organized religion, and for those of you who do, but are looking for more ideas, there are several different ways that you can improve your spiritual health! You can start meditating, practicing relaxation techniques, reflect on your time and match your schedule with your life’s true priorities, deep breathing, yoga, volunteering, donating to charities, working at Feed My Starving Children, giving to Toys for Tots, or pursuing avenues in your life that will make living out your purpose more possible. You could also try exploring or learning about religion if you feel that answering those initial questions I posed was too difficult without at least exploring the possibility of a higher power. Whatever you choose to do, work on aligning your life with your purpose. What other things popped into your mind as your read through this list? Share below to help others get more ideas that may be more fitting for them as well!
No matter how busy you feel your schedule is, take the time now to reassess your life! Ensure that you are headed down the right path to reaching your goals, fulfilling your purpose, and being the person you truly want to be! There is no better time than in the hustle and bustle of the holidays (or in the lonely gloom) to focus on the true meaning of the holidays… and the true meaning of life. Join me for Challenge Your Soul this month to realign your heart, mind, and soul to what truly matters.
I will be posting different Bible verses and spiritually inspiring messages on Facebook and Instagram daily for the month of November, so be sure to follow me (see links below) if you’d like to see them! I’ll also be doing a Facebook Event: Challenge Your Soul if you’d like to join and encourage others embarking on this challenge!
I hope you’ll join me for Challenge Your Soul. If you’d like you can take a look at Past Challenges or read about where my idea for Challenges originated. Drop me a comment or email to let me know if you try any!
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Follow the links to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for daily motivation, YouTube for health tutorials, and, if you haven’t already, subscribe to my blog on wholeehealthy.wordpress.com to see past posts and to make sure you don’t miss a post!
Also, feel free to comment below or email me with suggestions for future challenges, post ideas, questions, or anything else you’d like to chat about: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”
― Mahatma Gandhi