Well, I got out of one discipline and into another.
A year and a half ago, I was fully disciplined in working out. I was keeping a regular routine of weightlifting and cardio. And then I broke my knee. It all went down hill from there. I just couldn’t work out. I did do physical therapy for a while and now I no longer have to do that for my knee. But I’ve gotten out of the practice of working out. I have a weight bench and a heavy bag collecting dust. They just sit there waiting to be used. Yet I can’t get up early enough anymore to use them. I’ve gotten out of the discipline. Then in the summer, I started getting better. And then I came across my thyroid issue. That put a halt to everything. I wanted to stop the world and get off for a bit.
But one thing did happen in my life. Though my physical disciplines started to wane, my spiritual disciplines started to increase. I started focusing on God more and more. The first thing I did in my office in the morning was pray. I read through Scripture, read through a devotional, journal, and pray.
These four things have become vital to my own personal spiritual and emotional health. Without these, I don’t know how I would have gotten through the last year and a half. Without these, I don’t know how I would have managed. I learned to completely and totally lean upon God’s grace.
I think it’s vitally important to exercise these spiritual disciplines to best work on your spiritual health.
Scripture reading–what I do is read through a different translation that I’m used to. I’m so used to the 1984 New International Version that my eyes start to glaze over. Instead, I read through the New Living Translation, keeping things fresh for me. When you read through Scripture, you connect with God’s Word. When you truly come to learn, things pop out at you that you hadn’t noticed before. And each time you notice something new, you develop a deeper understanding of God’s Word. And each time you get a deeper understanding of God’s Word, you start having more things pop out at you. It becomes a wonderful deepening journey as you study Scripture.
Devotional reading–others have studied scripture and found ways to help you gain insight into God’s Word. Devotionals are helpful in guiding through God’s Word and seeing ways in which we are able to gain insight and apply it to our lives. Right now I’m reading through Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. It has been helpful in my own personal faith journey.
Journaling–Keep a prayer journal. Write in it as much as you can. Write down your prayers. Write down your struggles and your joys. Keep a record of them. There’s something about writing down what your faith journey is like. One of the things that I’ve benefited from working with a prayer journal is seeing how things have changed in my myself over the years. I’ve seen where I’ve grown in my faith and where my struggles have been. A prayer journal helps you grow in your faith, it helps you keep healthy spiritually.
Prayer–This is what all of this is culminating to: prayer. Take what you’ve read in Scripture and turn it into your prayer for the day. Turn it into how you come before God. Scripture is one of the ways God speaks to us today. Use it to have a conversation with him, and speak with him and listen to him. Not just that, but use your time journaling to create prayers. Write down what is on your heart, humbly bringing it before God, seeking your place in his world today. But come to him in prayer, seeking his will and guidance for today.
Habits are hard to get into and easy to get out of. Make it a habit for the spiritual disciplines. Work at it. Be disciplined in what you’re doing. And take the time to be in the presence of God.