03 March 2012

Spiritual disciplines during lent

During Lent, we do weekly small groups (Bible studies) as a community - and this year, the tochtgenoten are leading the studies. We've decided to focus on spiritual disciplines using Richard Foster's book, Celebration of Discipline (Het feest van de navolging) as a resource. It's given me the push to re-read his book and focus again on spiritual disciplines. I appreciate it as much as I did the other times I read it - and am glad to have the incentive to wonder more about how I can make more room in my life for spiritual disciplines.

One of the things that has struck me the most is how helpful the spiritual disciplines are for putting things back in perspective. In the midst of all the fluctuation in my life in the last while, I've often felt like my life has been horribly out of balance. Being given a means to re-order my life has been great - it helps also that there's a constant reminder that these are disciplines and not rules! The disciplines provide ways to open myself more up to God's grace - and help me realize that it's not through my own strength, willpower and/or desire that I can live out the Christian life the way I believe God would want me to. No matter how hard I try, I'll always fail when I try to do it on my own. It's only through God's grace that I can live the way God wants me to.

Having spent more than enough time lately being disappointed in my failure to be more concerned about the lives of those around me and spending too little time doing the academic work that I do actually love, this very real reminder of the inevitably of my failure - and the presence of grace in the midst of that - has been a breath of fresh air. It pushes me to want to try to exercise more of the disciplines, in the hope that I might open myself more open to God's grace and be more able to fully delight in life and the world around me.

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