Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A return to the disciplines

Back in August I blogged about “Custom-tailoring the disciplines” and promised follow-up blogs on the disciplines I find most helpful to me. I obviously have not kept that promise. Not yet anyway. And since one point that I made in the article was the importance of not being too hard on myself when I “fail” (nasty word), I need to follow my advice now and not wallow in guilt.
I wrote that the five disciplines that I attempt follow in some form everyday are engagement with Scripture, prayer, writing, memorization and gratitude. I still like this list.
But the funniest thing happened (I write without laughter). Since writing that blog, I have experienced a devotional black hole. Nothing works. Scripture is consummately boring to me. I get distracted at any attempt to pray, and too easily give up. I am not showing up to the page and I again question whether I can call myself a writer. I’ve forgotten about memorization, which is ironic. And gratitude? I sense myself whining even as I write this.
I do have some underlying reasons why this might be happening. The month long trip to Bolivia challenged my health and energy to the max. Since coming home, the physical problems have been hanging on, and I’m currently on the fifth round of medications to beat the urinary tract infection. Of course this affects every other area of my life.
The challenges in our ministry’s leadership structure continue. I still don’t know how to be part of a virtual team, and I grope to discover my role. The strong sensation that I should be doing more drains me of energy to put into what I know to do.
While prayer should be part of the answer to all of this, I simply don’t care to pray. My restless spirit would have me up and pacing instead.
Am I exaggerating? Perhaps. Even in the middle of this black hole I strongly sense God’s love. And having been through it before, I know that “this too shall pass.” Hope lets some light through.
As I write I’m reminded why I chose to name writing as a spiritual discipline. Through these words God is reminding me of my commitments, gently showing me the way back, actually smiling. I don’t sense any anger. Gratitude begins to bubble up. I feel myself saying again, “Yes, Lord.”
Maybe in a few weeks I can begin those follow-up blogs.


  1. Of course to all of the above. Transitions, illness, the undefined role, uncertainty regarding what's next, lingering illness, the need for attentiveness in each of your disciplines. Energy that would go toward attentiveness is being sucked up by all of these other needs and challenges. Maybe "behold" will open some new space. Just notice. Behold is an Advent and Christmas invitation. Lean back, relax and behold. No pressure in that. I love you with all of your normality.

  2. What a good word. Behold! I receive it. Thank you.