Spiritual Spring Cleaning
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By Deacon Tammy Devine
ELCA Wellness Manager
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
We enter the Lenten season with an ash cross on our foreheads. It reminds us that our days are limited, and that ultimately God is the one who holds those days. Lent invites us into the discipline of spiritual cleansing and redirection. God calls us to remove the cobwebs of our hearts — our unhealthy habits, thoughts, and actions — and to dust off the shelved spiritual practices that will help us grow as disciples. Much like spring cleaning, Lent is a time to open up, air out, clean out, and reorganize.
As I dust off my own spiritual habits, I continue to grow into my Live Well Challenge practice of being present. Recently, I caught myself feeling overwhelmed by a task I felt inadequate to complete. My body tensed; unhelpful past messages streamed through my thoughts; my breathing became shallow. It took the changing of the stoplight from green to red to jar me back to the present moment. As I sat at the light, I took some deep breaths. My mantra returned. This surprise attack temporarily robbed me of a clear mind, confidence, and inner peace — but by focusing on being fully present, I was able to shake the hold fear had on me and regroup.
It is a struggle to live centered. When the world around us projects fear and anxiety, it is easy to get sucked into the crowd mentality. Stepping out of the chaotic, hopeless, frenetic mindset so prevalent in our culture today requires strength — God’s strength, God’s breath within us. God’s promise to be present in us coaxes us to embrace inner peace, hope, and life abundant. It reminds us that because we are marked with the cross of Christ, we can let go and live renewed.
Tammy Devine's monthly reflection invites you to consider how your faith and health are intertwined. She shares her personal journey to help support you in new ways as you strive to live well in Christ — for the sake of ministry in God's world. ELCA organizations, feel free to print or link to Tammy’s reflections in your publications.
Since joining Portico in 2004, Tammy has provided whole-person health promotion, education, and inspiration to ELCA rostered leaders and lay employees. Contact Tammy Devine at livewell@PorticoBenefits.org.