There’s no denying that 2020 was a stressful year for many, regardless of age. And 2021 has had its own share of stress. But even with a year chock full of collective stresses, that doesn’t mean individual stresses simply disappear.
As we age, we have to deal with different things that can be stressors. That includes health conditions or considering whether or not to move to an assisted living community. Each situation can create distinctive challenges, and people of faith who are able to keep up with spiritual disciplines may find that those challenges are easier to face.
Unfortunately, when times get tough, it can be easy to neglect things involving our spiritual life. Taking the time to read Scripture or pray can seem like something that can wait when stress rears its ugly head. The problem is that later can turn into never, and a good spiritual life is absolutely crucial to healthy daily life for seniors of faith.
Here are some tips for maintaining spiritual disciplines even in the face of stress or other concerns.
Organizing the things you do into a routine makes it easier to do them because they flow naturally based on your having done them the same way over and over. Making your spiritual life part of that routine is essential to maintaining it in times of increased stress.
Just like waking up, eating or bathing, having a set time for your spiritual disciplines makes it easier to avoid neglecting them. If you make reading your Bible or prayer a specific time each day, it’s that much easier to keep doing it when life starts throwing you curveballs.
Age-specific stresses are a fact of life. Those who have lived lives of faith may have relied on spiritual devotion to get through hard times in the past. There is no reason why this can’t continue as you age. In fact, there are many reasons why this should actually become something we increasingly rely on as we get older. Let's take a look at some specific spiritual disciplines.
Daily Bible study is extremely helpful for a spiritual journey. Taking the time to listen to God through his word helps you grow closer to him and provides valuable life lessons from which to draw strength. The Bible is filled with relevant verses that can apply to any situation, so taking the time to read daily helps anyone get through whatever new problems they’re facing.
Never underestimate the value of prayer. Prayer is the perfect opportunity to talk with God about what new issues you’re facing as well as listen to what he might be saying to you. Matthew 7:7 tells us that if we ask, it shall be given unto us. But more than that, if we seek, then we shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto us. The way this happens is through prayer.
Prayer is our way of conversing with God. It’s a two-way conversation where we talk to him and he talks to us. Neglecting that time of connection separates us from him, and we don’t want to do that in times of stress because that’s when we need him most. Continuing on with regular prayer no matter what else is going on in our lives is one of the best ways to ensure that we stay strong in times of chaos. Just as when Jesus caught Peter as he sank into the water out of fear, we need our faith in him to keep us afloat.
It’s also important not to allow any stressful problems to cause you to skip worship. It can be easy to say “Oh, I’ll just miss this one,” but that turns into days if not weeks. Worship services are a way of recharging your spiritual batteries, so to speak, and you might hear something relevant to your situation in the service.
Plus, if we make time for God, he makes time for us. If we won’t reach out to him, how can he speak to us? Don’t allow problems to come between you and your time with the Lord. Problems can wait, and taking the time to attend a worship service might actually be just what you need for God to provide you with the proper answer.
Thankfully, the communities under the Bethesda Senior Living Communities umbrella are faith-based settings. We have numerous options that help seniors maintain their spiritual walk. There are planned Bible studies that you can attend at set, specific times as well as prayer groups and even on-site chaplains to speak with. Many of our communities also have on-site worship opportunities weekly.
As we age, we’re often faced with decisions we’ve never had to face before. Decisions on new health challenges, issues surrounding family and whether or not we need to move somewhere to get assistance. It’s a completely natural part of life that can easily overwhelm you if you let it. But keep in mind that everyone faces challenges throughout their lives, and no matter what our age is, we can always benefit by taking those problems to God.
Whether you’ve always placed an emphasis on matters of faith or you’re only just beginning your spiritual journey, it’s important to keep up with spiritual discipline in times of stress. God is with us and part of our lives for every aspect, not just the good. When new challenges arise, take those to God and he will see you through.