Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spiritual Health Check-up


Lent can really get us asking questions about our spiritual health and finding honest answers about our relationship with Christ.

It can also help us find a new place to start spiritually or finding our niche to keep this up for the duration. I find that it's the test of endurance AFTER the six weeks of Lent that really measures my fitness level.

Let's be honest. I'm trying to find the endurance to keep plugging along in the third week of Lent, let alone the all out marathon that keeps on afterward.

I'm finding though, that spiritual health and growth are very prudent and necessary to my physical well being too.

Our parish priest graciously bought each family in our parish the book The Four Signs Of A Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly. He has asked us to read it prayerfully over lent and he will expand on each chapter in his Sunday homily. (Have you read it yet? I highly recommend it.)

Last week I was struck by Matthew Kelly's words:

'One of the key indicators of spiritual health seems to be gratitude. When I am spiritually healthy I am grateful. But when I am not, even the smallest things drive me crazy. At those times I tend to be irritable, restless, and discontented.' (page 41)

Straight to the heart, "Ah-ha" moment!

How true! I have felt this so many times, but didn't always make the connection. When my heart is restless, I am irritable, (seemingly) nothing goes right and life is drudgery, I am guilty of being less grateful. I then made the connection that those times are also times when my prayer time isn't fulfilled or I just plain didn't make the time.

Matthew Kelly also frequently mentions in the book becoming the 'best-version-of-myself'. I love this term. When I am irritable, restless and discontented, I am not my best version of me. In fact, I get even more irritable and frustrated at myself that I am not.

This Lenten season I am trying to stay the course and follow through with what I set out to do. I am striving to match both my spiritual and physical exercise to build a better me. The best version of myself, if you will. I've done this before, but rarely have I been able to keep the physical and spiritual equally balanced. I find that the morning is the best time, most suitable time, to start my day in prayer. Most days I am also getting the exercise time in as well right away in the morning.

Can I tell you how much better my days are going even when they are less than ideal? How much more gratitude is in my heart and contentment even in the midst of trial?

I have often equated spiritual fitness and physical fitness as two separate entities. Over these last  six+ months of my being physically fit and in shape, I have started to see how closely intertwined the two really are.

'To run the race of Catholic motherhood, we need to strengthen ourselves emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Part of this means building our stamina through fitness, exercise, good nutrition, and proper sleep.' (A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms by Lisa Hendey, page 41)

I can attest to all of this and I know what a difference it has made for me. And what a difference it made in my thinking when I realized how all aspects fit together.

As I strive to keep on getting more spiritually healthy, I hope that it will also give me the endurance for my physical fitness goals as well.

(You have no idea how many prayers I'm praying when I try to bust my butt and run just a little further when I hop on that treadmill!)

This Lent is a season of journeying.  Let my Lenten practices continue as I run the marathon of life toward becoming the best-version-of-myself that God created me to be.


  1. Love this post. When I can get to daily Mass and the gym, it is a great day. Both of those things take time, but somehow they always leave me with more time in my day to get everything else done.

  2. Sarah, I love that..."best version of myself"!!!
    That is offically my new motto...thanks friend!

    And I never thought about how physical and spiritual well being go hand in hand. I have always kept them separate...and sometimes felt like I had time for neither. Fail...

    You always inspire me, and dare I say...ALMOST have me walking closer to my treadmill...maybe I will start slowly. Does dusting it off and turning it on count? ;)

  3. That first quote is spot on, ins't it? I was telling my husband, the days we don't pray the rosary (kids and I before our am lessons begin), my day is SO! MUCH! HARDER! Kind of like the days one doesn't exercise (if they have a good routine going), they start to feel all icky, physically. Keep up the good work in both departments. Remember, depending on the chapter of life you are in, our health, both physical and spiritual, is flaming bright or just a dried out log. Sometimes, those dried out logs is what God wants us to be. That way, when he calls us back, and we hear that call, we are so dry that we really turn into an immediate combustion of flames, just burning with love and desire for Our Lord. (St. John of the Cross.)

  4. Great post and your timing is perfect! (for me) I recently started going to daily Mass, leaving before everyone is up, Tom is staying a little later in the morning so I can do this...and just this morning I was praying that somehow God help me find the time to exercise too, because Mass is now taking place of the time I'd exercise. It's only been a week, and in the first week, I felt wonderful going every day, each day felt, happy. But now that it's been a week, my heart needs more. My heart needs that exercise that physical part I guess. Sleep? Well, God must help my baby to sleep!!! (which would also help with the exercise part!)

    Great post Sarah!

  5. Oh, yeah, our parish also gave out those books....

  6. Love me some Matthew Kelly. My Women's Group did a book study on "Rediscover Catholicism". It set me on fire for Christ and Catholicism. He also uses the "best version of ourselves" phrase in that book. So very true!!! Thanks for your's helpful to hear that others struggle with the prayer marathon AFTER Lent! Good stuff.

  7. prayers that you persevere to the finish line.

  8. I needed to read this. Great post, Sarah!


You're so kind for dropping me a line!

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