We don’t just stumble into deeper relationships, not with neighbors, not with friends, not with significant others, and not with God. There has to be an intentionality to our spiritual growth, some sort of structure and support. Otherwise we find ourselves all over the place, spinning our wheels, wondering why our faith never seems to mature or deepen, no matter how much knowledge we fill our heads with.

People want to get serious about their spiritual walks. If you want to get in shape physically, you exercise, discipline your life. If you want to get in shape spiritually, you exercise spiritually. Name some spiritual disciplines. Pray. Read the Bible. If pushed, fasting. We seldom think about other disciplines like silence, community, contemplative prayer/meditation, journaling/written prayers, self-examination, hospitality, or practicing the presence of God/finding God in the routine of daily living. It might help to develop a rule of life.

A rule of life is a pattern of spiritual disciplines that direct us to holiness, align our attitudes and behaviors to being more Christ-like. It helps establish a rhythm to our lives. As artistic (read: undisciplined and chaotic) a bent as I have, in order to get the most out of my writing, I must have some measure of discipline. It’s not always pretty and consistent, often coming in fits and bursts. We can’t do everything, especially at once. I have a job, I write, a family, friends – time is at a premium and I don’t do many things daily.

Explore what you’re most attracted to, where you need stretching. Personal rule of life, for you, to make you most receptive and best able to express the gifts of the Spirit. Something unique to your personality and circumstances and needs. It’s about finding balance to your life, spirit, mind, and body.

There is a certain unnecessary yoke that some Evangelicals put on their people: the tyranny of quiet time. As if that’s the only expression of Christian disciplines. As if we all have to practice it the same way. Begin every day with 5 to 30 minutes with the Lord, reading His word and praying – with great amounts of guild heaped upon us if we fail to do this because this is what every good Christian should do. Don’t get me wrong, I pray and I read the Bible, with my messy brand of spirituality that comes in spurts.

I like to practice the presence of God, finding Him in the daily minutiae of my activities. I try to ask myself: “whatever I do, what does it mean to do it in Jesus’ name and what does it look like?” It helps keep my thoughts focused. Nothing big. Nothing dramatic. But it helps me immensely.

Now if I could figure out what it means to be a good neighbor. And how to love people better. And to … *sigh*

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