What’s in Your Spiritual Tool Chest?

Blog Published: April 27, 2011
By Karol Bartlett

Tool BoxWe all have one at home. It’s the place you go to find that “something” that will “work” to do whatever job you are doing and need to fix. It may be the junk drawer, tackle box, first-aid kit, art supply box, tool belt, purse, wallet, backpack, tool box, sewing kit, or the top drawer on the right. Wherever it is and whatever its’ called you know that you will find just the thing to help you “fix” something in a pinch.

Those places are great for when you are trying to fix a material thing. But where do you go to help you get through a spiritual pinch? Those times when the moments of the day are too long, or the pain of what you are feeling is too intense, or you need an immediate charge for your spiritual battery? What tool is in your spiritual tool chest or on your spiritual tool belt?

Some of the things that come to mind are a rosary, mindfulness, prayer, reading from a book that has always been a source of energy and strength, a crucifix, a stone, a piece of wood, or a sea shell. Whatever it is – it’s the thing that you always go to that will get your through that minute, that hour, that day. It is the thing that will always center you back to what is spiritually most important to you. The thing that will say “God is in me and I am in God.”

Tool BeltFor the record some of the tools in my spiritual tool chest include a unique rosary, a small piece of cedar, the saying “Let go, let God,” and my wedding ring. I am, however, still trying to find some spiritual duct tape.

So what about you? To paraphrase a current TV ad, “What’s in your spiritual tool chest?”

Archived Comments

B. J. Schlachter April 27, 2011 at 9:32 am

My favorite “tool” in my spiritual tool box is a breakfast,lunch, or dinner with a friend/s. There is nothing that re-energizes my batteries better than an engaging conversation with a “kindred spirit.” The food is the topping on the cake!

abcdefg April 27, 2011 at 10:38 am

I pray, go for a walk, listen to your podcast, I have a laminated card i carry in my pocket from the poor clares, and usually some note in my pocket as well with some spiritual/positive/scripture notes written on it. If i can find a quiet moment i usually have some book i am reading, right now i am into reading about the saints. i could really use some more like-minded people to talk with in my life, and am working on that.

Sister Julie April 27, 2011 at 11:00 am

In my spiritual tool box are a profession cross given to me by two of my very dear nuns, a few well-worn mantras such as “Be still and know that I am God”, hiking trails into the wilderness, a furry cat, and other precious bits and pieces.

SarahRSM April 27, 2011 at 11:04 am

wonderful post, kb! my tool chest contains a smooth, wooden hand cross … and a couple good people i can text just to make sure they are “still there”

Sister Maxine April 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

Great post, Kbart! In my spiritual toolbox is a walk outdoors, laughing with friends, and a really tasty meal (yeah, count me in for the Gospel of Luke — the Food Gospel) 

Jeannie April 27, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Great post Kbart. Living a tough life has taught me that sometimes there are no magic “fix its” in the spiritual toolbox but some of the things I have used to help me to keep from sinking when there’s a hole in the spiritual ship are: singing, just breathing deeply and lastly giving thanks for everything in your life – even the pain. That last one is what has helped me the most, because even in my darkest hours I know that there is someone, somewhere who is suffering more than I am or who has less wealth than I do. When I speak of wealth I refer to faith, family, friends and fun times. As far as material objects that I like to hold onto, a scrap of paper with my grandmother’s handwriting, the crucifix I wear around my neck and my flute all bring me comfort.

LeeAnn April 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Great post Kbart! Some of mine are working in the garden. Working in the yard. Walking in the woods and sitting by my water garden. I also am never without a miraculous medal and several times a day I reach for it. I can never reach for it without thinking about what it signifies. The same with the rosary I have on my rear view mirror. Regina asked me in chat one night why people hang them on the rear view. Although I never use that particular rosary to pray on it is a constant reminder for me and I cannot ever see it without contemplating it’s mysteries. (If Max and Julie’s spiritual tool boxes are as big as their regular tool boxes, they are well-armed and ready for anything.) 

KCMayrie April 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm

i agree LeeAnn…SJ and SMX’s spiritual and regular tool boxes are expansive!

Julia April 27, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Ora et Labora. This Benedictine motto to pray and work is a reminder to me to keep my life balanced. When I find myself off kilter I look at my recent days activities and usually see I have been leaning more towards work, or towards prayer and neglecting the other. Prayer includes all the reading and studying, meditation and contemplation, as well as talking with God. And work, to me, means physical movement, so walking and swimming etc. count, but I feel best when I’m doing actual hard physical labor. If I keep these two ideals in proper balance, it’s like maintenance work for my life, so I need the old power tools less and less often. Thanks for the great blog KBart!

marla April 27, 2011 at 7:05 pm

kbart, i have a weird tool box. i have prayer bowls–two bowls molded together with a handle, one side to hold prayer requests (on paper) and one in which to burn them. i have movies that i watch to make me feel grateful or inspired. i have my keyboard for writing. i write more about my relationship with god than about anything else. i have several websites i visit, including the fb page of dr. clarissa pinkola estes. i read the lives of the saints. i have cuddle time with my dogs. i have a heating pad to help me fall asleep praying. i have a poster of mary and mary magdalene from the movie the passion of the christ to help me meditate. i have few physical things anymore, and most of my stuff is not what you might find in someone else’s toolbox, but i have tools all over the place.

Cameron Smith April 27, 2011 at 7:24 pm

my spiritual tool box are my bible, my favorite prayer card, my rosary, my cross stitching and riding my horse
I am always at my calmest when I am riding my horse on a pretty day enjoying the sunrise..

KCMayrie April 27, 2011 at 9:45 pm

To echo the rest, great post KB, really provokes some thoughts… I think I can agree with most of the others when I say in my “tool box” is my rosary, my ipod (for uplifting music), reflective journaling, walking in nature, spending time in Adoration, and spiritual reading. I also find comfort in talking with people who are also walking along similar paths as myself, for in sharing the journey I think we can both grow stronger 

Marsha April 28, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Hmmmm . . . spiritual tools. The first thing I thought of was my iPod – which I use for music (* have a great selection of prayerful music), plus podcasts to listen to which encourage and uplift me, but first, and most important, the divine office which I pray night and morning. I find this a very helpful way to pray. I also have a rather large library of books – spirituality, poetry, doctrine, theology, biography, etc. I am generally reading at least 3 or 4 books simultaneously! I live in a wooded area, and I walk in woods and on the beach – or just sit in the car on rainy days and look out at the ocean. And then there’s my cell phone with free long distance – so I can call one of my friends for encouragement and refreshment for my spirit. And my laptop, where I can access websites of people who inspire me – like Sr. Hildegard, Sr. Lauren, O’Neal, and, of course, the NL Ministry. And more recently I have added silence to my toolkit. I like it better than I thought I would – better than I did a few months ago. And daily mass. The Eucharist has become the center of my life. Good tools – all for one purpose – to be in communion with God.

JoyceElaine April 29, 2011 at 5:26 pm

My tool chest includes my bible, a book of wonderful prayers I’ve received, my music library on my phone, my family and NL family support system, and whatever else helps me become closer to God.

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