Interfaith Scholar Olivia Hollman share some of her New Year’s Resolutions She has been practicing .
With a new calendar year starting, creating a New Year’s resolution seems to be a popular thing to do. Resolutions that I have had in the past have included: to exercise more and eat healthy, find inner peace, be nicer to my family, and make my bed every day. However, I always found it difficult to stick with these because I would either forget or I never made any concrete plans; they were always just abstract ideas in my head. Now I’ve learned that the best way to stick with something is to make a game plan and physically put it into my schedule (my agenda and calendar on my phone really help with this).
This year, part of my resolution is to grow spiritually and become more involved in my faith. When I decided this, I realized how abstract the idea sounded. How can I make this a concrete thing? Maybe you have decided on a similar resolution and are facing the same dilemma I did. Well, have no fear! With some brainstorming, I came up with seven possible ways to grow spiritually.
- Read sacred scripture. Pull out some texts associated with your own faith. As a Catholic, the Bible is pretty important and I love reading it, because I learn something new about the teachings of Jesus or the ministry of the prophets. On the flip side, one of the items on my “to-do list” for this year is to read from texts important to other faiths. In doing so, I hope to gain insight and knowledge of other faiths, which can help me strengthen my own through both differences and similarities.
- Read a piece of literature that is faith-based. A few years ago I read the book The Shack by William P. Young, which was a really interesting and entertaining book about a man’s encounter with God as he went searching for his daughter’s killer. The Shack kept me entertained and made me think: the two things I am looking for when I read a faith-related book. This year, I am going to read C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity, Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life, and Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz, among others.
- Go to an event hosted by a group of a different faith or an interfaith event. Learning about another faith can be a really enlightening experience. As an Interfaith Scholar, learning about various faith traditions during our weekly meetings and at the QIRCs (Quarterly Inter-Religious Celebrations) has been a highlight of this school year and I plan to attend other services or events.
- Take a “faith field trip”. Take some time to go visit museums or places of worship from various faiths. Go alone, take some friends with you, make a day out of it, or just spend a few minutes there. Make it educational. Make it enlightening. Make it fun. Especially in the Chicago area, there are plenty of places to go. A few on my list to visit are: Holy Name Cathedral, Bahai Temple, the National Shrine of Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini and the Chicago Temple. (For some other suggestions of sacred spaces to visit: http://www-tc.pbs.org/godinamerica/art/chi_cityguide.pdf)
- Do some research or take a class. Ever wondered about an important faith figure like St. Paul, Buddha, Confucius, Moses, or Martin Luther? Take some time to do some research at the nearest library or see if Google has anything or maybe even take a class. DePaul offers several classes that can fill Elective, Understanding the Past, Arts and Literature, and Religious Dimensions requirements, such as “Women in the Bible”, “Islam in Global Contexts”, and “Hindu Thought and Culture” (and there are so many other options as well).
- Join a group. Groups are great ways to get connected with people to share experiences and beliefs. Being a part of Catholic Campus Ministry (more of a community than a “group”) has helped me find a community where I can be myself and express my faith with friends. DePaul has several groups out there for a range of faiths: United Muslims Moving Ahead, Buddhist and Meditation Club, DePaul Alliance for Free Thought, DePaul Hillel, Orthodox Christian Fellowship of DePaul University, Tepeyac, and Young Life College to name a few.
- Reflect. I’ve found that in my life, doing a daily reflection and personal inventory are great ways to help keep me on track. This can be as simple as taking a few moments to think about the highs and lows of the day, looking at my calendar to see what all I accomplished for the day, or writing in a journal.