Monday, September 15, 2008


Back in January I hit a wall in terms of just being tired of the way I was living my life in a lot of ways with respect to my relationship with God. I threw myself head-first into trying to under the idea of Spiritual Disciplines. For the next four or five months, I pursued this with a Pizzapolois vigor and I saw change deep in my life that I'd never experienced. It consumed me, in a good way. I would organize my life around around these spiritual disciplines, but not in a legalistic, weird, consuming way. I would gladly wake up an hour early to spend time in meditation, study and reading. I was incorporating different spiritual disciplines into my life in a way I never had. This was the focus of my world and it helped me prioritize put the rest of my world in perspective in terms of my marriage, my family, my friendships and my church. It became routine, in a good way and a bad way.

Around April, I got in a similar rut with my exercise routine. I changed that up pretty radically and applied similar discipline to changing things up. I began running and focusing on a pretty different style of eating, lifting and cardio and saw great results. For the first time in my life I decided to run in a race, two even. Slowly, around July, preparing for the race started to consume me. I began organizing my life around what I was going to eat, when I would run, soreness, preparation and reading about all of the above. I poured the same energy and part of my soul I was using for my spiritual disciplines and channeled it into running. In hindsight, if I were to chart it out in terms of time, thought and priority, it would all be pretty obvious how my priorities shifted and how that impacted negatively the same areas of my life that were going well. If I look back on my blog even, it's pretty apparent the shift in priority and focus.

When I first noticed, part of me felt stupid for what I let slip away. Part of me felt like maybe it would be too much work to re-focus things and had a tough time getting over the interia to actually do something. It wasn't even something I wanted to talk to my friend about for some reason. Maybe I'm like Moses with his veil and didn't want people to know that the glow had faded.

So here I am. Looking backwards. Knowing where I was, wanting to get there, but knowing that it won't be easy. To paraphrase Dietrich Bonhoeffer (yes, the same man who attempted to assassinate Hitler) in his book The Cost of Discipleship:
Grace is free, but it is not cheap. The grace of God is unearned and unearnable, but if we ever expect to grow in grace, we must pay the price of a conciously chosen course of action which involves both individual and group life. Spiritual growth is the purpose of the Disciplines.
So I started this morning. I got up early. I blocked off an hour. I wish I could say it was easy and that I had no second thoughts and didn't try to find a excuses not to do it. I'm trying to make the same concious decision I made in the beginning of the year. The same concious decision I made before. I know it's nothing I can do on my own, but sitting on my butt doesn't work either. I like the way Richard Foster puts it:
We do not need to be hung on the horns of the dilemma of either human works or idleness. God has given us the Disciplines of hte spiritual life as a means of receiving his grace. The Disciplines allow us to place oursleves before God so that he can transform us.
So that's where I'm at. Conciously choosing action. Choosing movement. Choosing grace.

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