Making Space to Explore Christian Disciplines
Today as a church community we launched into a 30-day journey exploring Christian disciplines. It’s our belief that Christianity is not just about having the correct beliefs but is also a lifestyle that we adopt - a lifestyle that Jesus modelled for us. The spiritual disciplines are habits that we embrace that are designed to orient our entire being towards Christ and His Kingdom. They are not intended to be tired and boring practices experienced as regulations from a distant God, but, as life-giving rhythms that draw us into the full life that Jesus offers all of His followers. Our hope for this month is to begin to take simple steps as individuals and as a community towards a lifestyle of learning to follow Jesus, together, in Surrey.
No matter who you are, adopting spiritual disciplines - or any disciplines - is hard work. It doesn’t happen automatically and I’m sure if we all waited to have a great desire and motivation before we began, many of us would not get very far. There are always things that will come up against our pursuit of Jesus: Netflix, social media, school, kids, house cleaning, sports, work, etc. None of us have extra time magically fall into our laps on most days so how do we carve out the time to make practicing the disciplines a priority in our life. I wanted to give you a few tips as we go on this journey of practising spiritual disciplines together.
Have grace with yourself
I’ve often found myself discouraged because I try and go from 0 to 100 all at once and when I start to get distracted or overwhelmed I give up. Start small if you have to but have grace for the days it doesn’t go well. Instead of giving up if you miss one day, try again tomorrow.
2. Work with your schedule
Don’t try and fit the disciplines in a certain time of your day just because someone else does it that way. Figure out what works for you. It may be getting up early in the morning before the kids wake up or between classes in your dorms or maybe even late at night after work. We all have different lifestyles and schedules so work with what you have and when you’re at your best.
3. Put a limit on your screen time
The biggest challenge most of us will face in creating space to practice spiritual disciplines is the constant connection we have through our devices. It might be good to decide at the beginning of this 30 day journey to limit how much time you are going to allow yourself to have on your phone so that you can make space for the disciplines. I’ve found that I have a much easier time when I shut my phone down an hour or two before I go to bed and don’t pick it up for an hour or two after I wake up. This did require me to purchase an alarm clock though…Yes, those still exist.
I hope those tips will give you a kick start if you need it. And if you didn’t start with us on the first day, it’s never too late to jump in. The point is not that we all finish at the same time but that we engage in a way in these life-giving discipline. I also wanted to mention that our friends from CLA Young Adults have developed a website (https://www.exploringthedisciplines.com) with additional resources and the online version of the Following Jesus booklets.