Three mornings a week, I wake up at 5:09 a.m. to head to the gym. On those mornings, I contemplate hurling my alarm clock across the room. For me, waking up that early is the opposite of fun.
But I drag my stubborn self out of bed because it’s good for me. And by the time I get to the gym, I remember why I came. Working out makes me strong and healthy. That’s the reward for discipline.
The same applies to my spiritual health. In order to grow strong and healthy in my spirit, I need the disciplines of prayer, solitude, worship, self-reflection, Bible reading, fasting and more. But the hardest part about spiritual discipline … is, well, … the discipline.
To-do lists compete with my quiet time. My task-oriented, bossy brain demands that I get to the office, instead of sitting still with Jesus. Even at church, my mind can act like an unruly child, wandering during worship songs and the sermon. And yes, there are some Sundays when I toy with the idea of skipping our local service to attend Church of Saint Mattress.
When I do follow through with my disciplines, I’m almost always glad I did. Like my time in the gym, my spiritual disciplines make me stronger in the Lord.
But in those times when I fall short?
God’s grace is still abundant. His Spirit is still at work in me – flawed, tired, distractible me.
The other morning, I skipped my usual Bible reading time, and went for a walk instead. I found God out there, in the morning breeze, under the dome of a clear blue sky. I saw my first robin. I felt spring in the air, and in my step. It was as if God were saying to me, “See kid? You’ve got to know this about Me. Even when you can’t stick with a plan, I’m disciplined enough to stick with you. Let’s go for a walk. I have some things to show you.”
Spiritual Disciplines to Nurture Your Soul
There are countless ways to nurture our relationship with God. And to be sure, the spiritual disciplines of prayer, worship and Bible reading are at the top of most lists. But let’s think outside of the box today. Here are five spiritual disciplines to strengthen your soul.
1 – The Spiritual Discipline of Taking a Walk.
God is unashamedly broadcasting His love everywhere. God knows no bounds, and worship can happen anywhere. Take a walk outside to see it. Sometimes, Jesus comes knocking when you are wholly unaware of what you’re about to encounter. I try to keep the heart-door ajar, because I don’t want to miss any miracles. God seems to favor the element of surprise, falling like dew on the skin, landing softly like a bird on a wire.
2 – The Spiritual Discipline of Thinking About Heaven.
You can retrain your brain to focus here:
– This day. The moment you are currently in.
– And that Day. The moment when you will see God face-to-face.