Spiritual discipline helps us engage
|By Teri Ditslear|
Joy in the Journey
The phrase 'spiritual discipline' can seem very hoity-toity to a secular person, and maybe even to some religious people. But the mere act of disciplining oneself to ongoing and intentional spiritual growth, is not only beneficial to our spirit, but also helps us engage with God in our hearts and heads. My own spiritual discipline will not look like yours, and your spiritual disciplines will not necessarily look like mine. There are so many varied and interesting ways we can grow spiritually. When I say 'grow spiritually' this means getting to know who God is through some type of activity through an intentional act. When we organize our day to be intentional in our interactions with a God who loves us, it is impossible not to have a better day than when we are living unaware.
A few spiritual disciplines, off the top of my head, include: prayer of all types, journaling, creating art, singing, meditating, listening deeply, and reading. Each day, my prayer life includes, giving thanks and confession. These two prayers both fill me up and also empty me simultaneously. The disciple of doing these two prayers, for me is life giving. These two prayer give me hope and courage, but they also humble me into learning to be a more grace filled person.
Another spiritual disciple can be the mere act of going to church on a weekly or semi regular basis. Finding a community where you can grow in spirituality, getting to know who God is together, is one of the most positive life changing decisions I ever made. Even before I was a pastor, worshipping in community is where I found out intimately, about both the beauty and the brokenness of the world, and that belonging to a group of people who strive to be better people for the sake of the world was not only contagious, but life giving. When I began the disciplined (often times failing) journey of being a disciple (student) of Jesus, is when my a-ha moments started making sense of who God is in the world.
It is not easy getting up on Sunday mornings to go to a place of worship where you suspect that there is an agenda of some sort, or are worried you will hear something heretical (untrue for you). But what if you got up on Sunday mornings and walked into a place that felt like you belonged to these God loving and fearing people? What if you suddenly felt like you found your people, your tribe? I suspect that every one wants to belong, to be heard and to be loved. For me, going to church every Sunday is not only my job, but something I crave, and something my head, heart and spirit needs.
My hope is that you have a place where you learn and cultivate spiritual disciplines, so that you too can grow deeper in love with God, who loves you so very much.
Noblesville's Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com
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