Marci Monson

returning to faith

I don’t know what it is about snow-covered trees that help me feel peace, but every time I ride the lift at my local ski resort, I pass a certain section of pine trees and suddenly feel still. Unfortunately, the lift eventually gets to the top of the mountain and my mind and energy become refocused on making my way back down.

It’s always something, isn’t it? If I do spiritual study at night, I’m soon cutting down the time I planned to dedicate more and more as my eyes get heavier and heavier. So I switch to mornings. I sit down and start my spiritual practice and suddenly I have an urge to check the weather. I must know the forecast for the day right now! 15 minutes later I’ve checked all of my social media, planned my outfit for the day, and learned absolutely nothing of worth. I know that my days are calmer and more productive when I spend time creating my own sacred space, so why can’t I just shut out the world and spend time taking care of that part of my life?

Here are a few things that I try to do each day to create my own sacred:

1. Recognize that everyone does it differently

How often do we compare our spiritual growth to that of others? I have a friend who described how hard it was for her to feel like church was a sacred experience with two screaming, crying babies hanging on her. She felt like she had failed at church because she wasn’t leaving each week with uplifted feelings or faith-promoting stories. I sometimes look at people who study for hours each day and think I will never reach their spiritual level because I just don’t have that kind of time or patience.

We’re not all alike and the way we find our sacred doesn’t need to be either! Maybe you’re a 5-minute a day kind of person or a fully-immersive experiencer. Figure out how you best access your faith and then do that in any way that works for you. Just make sure you do it!

2. See the sacred everywhere

Sometimes creating your own sacred is as simple as looking for it. If you stop, be still, and look for those faith-promoting moments, they will come to you, even on a ski lift. Then give gratitude and keep looking. If we’re not looking for our sacred, we may never see it.

3. Carve out time and make it a priority

Sometimes it can seem like an impossible feat to find time for peace and quiet in your life when your kids are banging at the door, your roommate won’t turn down her music, or your schedule fills up faster than you can manage. Creating your own sacred may take sacrifice on your part to find a quiet space, a quiet time, a quiet mindset. Make it a priority to find that space each day, stick to it, and eventually turn it into a daily habit.

One of my first true spiritual experiences happened on the same ski resort with my favorite snowy trees. This time it was summer and I was at a conference for teenage youth of my church. We were given time to go out and pray, read, and ponder by ourselves. I climbed into a grouping of trees, sat on a rock, and for the first time in my life, I felt a testament of those things that I believe. I was still.

I wish I could have those types of experiences every day, but instead I have to do my best to create an environment and an opportunity that will help me get as close to my faith as possible.