Thursday, March 31, 2022


When God answered my prayer that day on the street, my soul felt it. It felt it in this weird sort of way in which I was always aware of my deep want of that answer to my prayer. It was a want that I could not manifest out of my flesh by sheer will if I tried. 

And maybe that's what kept me from praying for anything else at the moment. 

I just couldn't muster up that kind of want for anything else, and by comparison, whatever want that I did have didn't feel like want at all. It felt...I don't know. It just had this feeling like it was my brain, and perhaps my heart a bit, more than my soul that wanted anything, and it felt cheap. That's the word I'm looking for. It just felt cheap. 

There is no want in the world that is so deep, so passionate, so raw and authentic as the want that organically rises out of a weary soul as it stands in front of its trouble one more time. You can't duplicate that. I suppose the answer is to really throw yourself into things and engage so deeply in life that its troubles weary you - and there's a certain blessing to that - but really, not everyone is wired that way. Not everyone has the resilience to live like that. But that kind of moment, it just changes your whole perspective on "want." 

And since we're on the subjects, let me say here that prayer is a great way to figure out what you really want...and to recognize what might be standing in the way of it. 

When you start to pray, you probably start to pray with words that you think you're supposed to pray. Words about healing and the goodness of God and the provision of God and the things that you know you can count on from Him...or that you think you're supposed to know you can count on. Our prayer always seems to start really formal, as if our pastor might walk in at any moment and assess our spiritual condition based on how "well" we pray or something. We always seem to start to pray the way that we've heard others pray. 

If you're like me, though, there comes this moment when you start to feel the disconnect between what you're praying and your heart. This is where most of us wander. This is where we get distracted, and our minds trickle off to other things. It's because we don't recognize what's happening - and what's happening is that the God we're praying to is not the God we love. It's not the God we know most intimately. We feel that distance, so we break from it. 

But if we tune into that feeling, we can pick up on a deeper disconnect - a truth about what we really want and what we really expect and maybe even what we're holding onto. For example, I have prayed prayers in my life for healing and yes, I have wanted healing, but in the midst of praying the prayer, I have also realized how scared healing makes me. Because what I really want first is understanding. I want to know what's going on, what caused it, what its effects might be, and how to prevent it from happening again before I just get "healing." 

Maybe that sounds bad, like I should just trust God to heal me fully and completely and not have to worry about it, but God knit me together this way, and I think He's okay with it. But I like these moments because they help me put perspective on my challenges. I can see very clearly what path I am really taking through them and what I really want to happen. And I know that some of that is my own planning, so I have to practice surrender, too. But the whole thing changes my prayer. Instead of praying for healing, which I want, I start to pray for understanding, for surrender, and for healing. This brings me to a more authentic prayer. 

It brings me closer to a crying out, but again, all of the self-reflection and heart-honesty in the world won't ever get me to want something the way my soul organically just wants it when it's weary. 

The good news is that all the self-reflection and heart-honesty kind of wearies me sometimes, so maybe....

The point is this: when God answers your prayer, if you can't think of another single legitimate, authentic's okay. In fact, I think it's good. It's natural. There's something about connecting soul-to-God that, again, just stills us, and it's okay to just love that moment and let it be and not burden it with a bunch of other things. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Feeling Our Smallness

There's a certain teaching - a rather harsh, though somehow still popular teaching - that this silence that we feel before the Lord is exactly what He desires of us. That we're supposed to feel nothing greater than our own smallness when we stand in His presence. That if we have a moment like this one, where He has answered us, it is supposed to "put us in our place" and make us realize how really insignificant that we are in the grand scheme of things. This teaching would consider it a victory that we don't ask for anything else from God because it would be confirmation that we have accepted how very little we truly know. 

I absolutely despise this certain teaching. It's simply not biblical. 

In fact, it's really a challenge to everything that we know about God and faith. 

The teaching itself comes, I think, from the book of Job, where Job "dares" to stand before God and ask a bunch of questions and God responds with a bunch of questions of His own that reveal how very little Job really understands about, well, anything. That's the common reading of Job; it's the one preachers love to harp on.'s really uncharacteristic in terms of who God reveals Himself to be in the Scriptures when we read it this way. Isn't it?

I just don't see a whole lot of God thundering from the heavens in His self-righteousness to tell His people how things really are. I don't see a whole lot of God looming large over His people so that they know without a doubt that they live in His powerful shadow. I don't see a whole lot of God doing this sort of thing even with His enemies, even with the nations that He says make Him angry. Even in the times when He is jealous. If you look through the Scriptures for other examples of this God that we think we find in won't find Him. If you look anywhere else in the Bible for an example of this God who is, quite frankly, a bully, you won't find Him. 

I think we're reading Job wrong. 

And I think our wrong reading of Job has led us into an understanding of God that He never wanted us to have. Namely this, that God's goal is for us to feel our own smallness. 

I think God wants us to feel our own belovedness. I think God's goal for us in His presence is to know how much He loves us. 

Love...changes everything. Love is that thing that settles the soul. Love is that thing that satisfies all of the questions. When you know someone loves you, you trust them. You know that they're acting out of love, and you feel the loveliness of being you. You feel the loveliness of your life. You feel that love flowing through every pore of your being, and you don't have to yearn and ache and want any more because love is simply that satisfying. 

I think when God was talking to Job, what God was saying was that He knows intimately the details of every facet of creation, that He knows with great care the smallest truths about everything. That He wove together literally all of it with such tenderness and intention that these circumstances in Job's life, too, are held with the same amount of care. With the same amount of love. 

Have you ever heard a little kid trying to tell you everything he knows about some video game you've never heard of? How he goes on and on about all the powers that the characters have and their backstories and the adventures they're on and the point of the game and all the cool places that he gets to go with them and on and on and on, and you don't get it. And then, he picks up the little plushie of his video game character and hugs it and you understand that he loves this thing. 

That's how I see God in the book of Job. Filled with the excitement of the wonder of all of the little things that He knows and loves about His creation, and He's sharing that deep love and that intimate knowledge with Job in a series of questions. Hey, hey, Job, do you know this one? I know this one! Did you know how I take this one here and do this and do that? I do! And then God hugs an ostrich and Job gets it - this is a God filled with a wondrous love. 

He's no bully. 

And that's how I feel every time in the presence of God. This is a God who loves His creation, a God who loves me. This is a God who gets excited about all of the little things that He knows about, well, everything, and this love just pours out of Him. There's nothing like it, and you can't miss it. And it just puts your heart and your soul at rest because you just trust the love of God. That's why we don't ask for anything else. 

We already have everything. God...loves us. He truly loves us. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Every Good Thing

If I knew that God was listening, that He truly hears me, that He is ready to answer, then Lord, do I have a list for You! That's the way most of us think. At least, that's the way most of us think when we're burdened by the brokenness of the world and feeling our own helplessness. It's the way we feel when we're burdened by the brokenness of our own lives, and we have all of these grand ideas about how we would fix them if we had all the power in the world. And, well, our God has all the power in the world, doesn't He?

But then that moment comes when God answers you, when God shows Himself and reveals His love and does something good and wonderful and glorious in response to a prayer that you have prayed - often, a prayer that wasn't even on your prayer list; it was just a crying out from a weary soul - and all that brave talk, all that bravado we have about a list of our wants goes right out the window. 

Because when God answers you, it stills you. 

It settles something in your soul. It calms the raging seas within you. It satisfies you. And I know that seems strange because even when God answers one prayer, we're all still looking at so many things in our lives and in our world that we want to fix, things that seem like they are more deserving of the fixing than whatever God just gave us, and yet...something in our souls is satisfied. Like we recognize, finally, just how much God really is in control. 

It makes us stop and rethink all of those things we want to ask for. It makes us aware of our own limitations, of the ways in which we don't understand even those things that we think we understand. Hey, we realize we don't even understand God or healing, and both are things that we literally just experienced in our last breath. How could we ever understand anything else? 

We all have our list of wants, but poised right on the edge of getting them, we start to wonder if that's really what we want at all. Do we even know what we're asking for? We start to think about the goodness of God, and this makes us realize the smallness of our own definition of "good." 

All of a sudden, what I want isn't what I thought I wanted. What I want is to have more moments like this one, more moments when God is so near that I can smell Him. When I can hear His voice. When I know without a doubt how much He loves me. What I want is to know that God is listening, that He hears me. 

And it's hard, in a moment like that, to ask for anything else. It's hard to start laying out a prayer list. It's hard to pray for the things I thought I wanted five seconds ago because now, now I just want God to be this good. Now, I just want God to do His thing. Now, I just want more of Him. 

And that's the trouble. We all think that we know what we want, but the truth is that we know very little about what God wants...or why. We want to say that we want healing for everyone, but what if God's plan isn't to heal everyone? What if God's glory is something else entirely? We say we want peace, but what if God is doing something in the turmoil? We say we want satisfaction, but there's this weird way that our souls can be satisfied while our spirit still hungers. While we can still hear our bellies growling. The only thing we God. And ironically, we realize this most acutely in the very moment when we already have Him. When He is already so near

It changes the way we pray, for sure. At least, it changes the way that I pray. It changes the way that I live and breathe, if I'm being honest. Because every time I find myself in a situation in which I knew so well my brokenness and now know without a doubt that He has healed me, I can't help but be thankful and to know that God is still near. 

Just like He's always been. 

And, well, I can't wait to see what He does next.  

Monday, March 28, 2022

Answered Prayer

A little over a month ago, I prayed, and the Lord answered me. Not in some indirect way. Not in His own time. Immediately. In my time. Burdened by the crushing weight of something strange that I had been wrestling with, I cried out to God in the heart of the moment, and just like that - problem solved. 

It was literally the same kind of experience that so many broken men and women had in the Gospel stories - I once was blind, but I cried out on the side of the road and Jesus heard me, and now, I see. 

Most Christians spend their entire lives of faith longing for a moment like this one. From what I hear from many of them, they never experience it. Most of us spend our lives trying to explain to someone else how we know that God answered us, how we interpreted all of the signs, how the impossible happened and so it must be Him. And we weave these tales around our faith that explain God's presence in our lives, but secretly? Most Christians spend their entire lives unsure if God has heard them or if He's answered them or if He cares. Most Christians don't get a, "Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me!" saving grace. Not like we read about. 

And most seekers say that if they could just have an experience like this one, or be present when it happens, they would believe in God forever. It's the old sinner crying out from the pits of hell, "God, if only they had a sign..." and we say the same - if God would just show us, just one time, that He is real and powerful and loving, we'd be His forever. Whether we already believe in Him or not. 

But remember that even many of the persons in the Gospel stories don't go on believing in Jesus. At least, not that we hear about. Some proclaim His name right away, but others...just walk away. He heals ten lepers, but only one comes back to Him. So there's got to be something more, then, to what it takes to believe if even those persons who stood face-to-face with Jesus had trouble with it, even when they were on the receiving end of His miracles. We need not - and should not - put so much of our faith stock into having a moment like this. 

You'd also think that if you have this moment, you'd want to have another one just like it. And of course, you do. But think of those Gospel stories again. How many of these healed men and women started bombarding Jesus with all of their other prayer requests? How many blind men started begging for another healing? 

The answer is...not one. Not one person in all the Gospels (or even the Bible, for that matter) experienced the miracle-working God first hand and whipped the church bulletin out of their back pocket or even their own personal list of persons whose lives needed touched and started declaring them to Jesus. 

It seems natural, right? If God is listening and God hears you and God is in an answering mood and He's just done something incredible, something astonishing, for you, then that's the moment that you ought to get your whole list out of the way, right? That's the time you ought to jump on it and go for broke. If God's just handing out healings, then each of us knows at least a dozen persons who could use one. 

Maybe even more than our five-minutes-ago self. 

Yet, it doesn't happen. It doesn't happen in the Bible, and I'm telling you, it didn't happen on the street that night with me. Sure, I thought about it. The question popped into my head, "Wow! What else do I want from God? Now's the time." But the answer was...complicated. 

Stay tuned for more....  

Friday, March 25, 2022

A Faithful Decision

So then, we are back to where we started at the beginning of last week - wondering how it is that we make a decision by faith. In the days in between, we have looked at a lot of ideas and many of the considerations that we have to make when we're trying to figure out how, exactly, to follow God. And if you're thinking by now that it sounds impossible,'re not far off.

If you've ever been around me when I'm trying to make one of these decisions, you know that I'm not usually shy about considering all of these things out loud. If someone knows I'm wrestling with what the faithful thing is, and they ask, I will usually work them through my thought and prayer process, through all of the things I'm thinking about, through the things that I know and the ones that I take by faith, and quite often, I have to admit...

Faith feels more like a curse than a blessing.

My life would be so much easier if I didn't have to think about what God wants. If I could only think about what I want or what seems easiest or what gets me to where I want to go on the simplest path possible, I could make most of my decisions pretty quickly. And I wouldn't second-guess very many of them, I don't think. 

My life would be easier if I didn't have to think about all of the things that I know I'm not thinking about, if I didn't know that there are things that I don't know, if I didn't believe in things that I have not yet seen. If I didn't have to calculate miracles and the goodness of God and the unimaginable into my decisions, they'd be pretty easy to make. Things would be more straightforward. I could lay all the "facts" out right in front of me, make a pros and cons list, and just go for it (or not, depending on what I choose). 

My life would be easier if I wasn't aware of the massive grace poured out on it at every moment. If I didn't have this nagging in my soul that tells me how much God loves me. If I wasn't certain, with every fiber of my being, that at any moment, God could do the most remarkable thing that right now, seems most definitely improbable. 

My life would be easier without faith.

But it wouldn't be nearly as blessed. 

It wouldn't be as beautiful. It wouldn't be filled with the kind of incredible stories that I can tell, that I do tell, about the goodness of God. It wouldn't be the kind of testimony and living witness that absolutely humbles me every time I'm trying to make a decision like this. It wouldn't be full of the glory of God, which is, honestly, what I'm going for. I want a life that so glorifies Him that you can't help but wrestle with your decisions the way I wrestle with mine because you want this. I want to live a life that makes you want this. 

And I know - after the past two weeks of discussion, that sounds like a curse, but I promise you it's not. I promise you. Making a faithful decision can be the hardest, most aggravating, most confusing, most uncertain thing that I do with my faith. But it's beautiful, too. Even the mess of it. 

And so far, it's been worth it. Every time. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

The Right Question

Yesterday, we introduced some of the questions that we need to ask when we're trying to discern the voice of God in our lives. And that leads to another important consideration - the questions we're asking at all. Any time we are trying to make a faithful decision, we have to know what the question is that we're really asking. 

Often, it's not the one we think we're asking. 

The questions we think we're asking usually come out of our circumstances, and that's where we're tempted to leave them. We want to ask whether we should take a job offer or stay where we are, whether we should put in the resume or hold back, whether we should engage to our girlfriend, whether we should go out on a date with that guy, whether we're ready to have kids or we should wait awhile longer, whether we should buy this car or that one, whether we should move our family or invest in our current home. And these are the questions that we ask God. 

Hey, God, which choice should I be making here? Which one of my possible circumstances lines up with your will?

But these are not really the decisions God is interested in us making, and they aren't really the questions we're asking. Don't get me wrong - God cares deeply about the way our lives are going, but it's not His primary concern. His eye is always on eternal things, and His heart is always on our heart.

And the truth is that most of these questions have a deeper heart question underneath. They have an insecurity or a fear or a shame or a nervousness behind them about something that is more to the core of our being. There is something in every one of our questions that we are really wanting to ask, but either we haven't figured out what it is yet or we're too scared to acknowledge it. 

For example, when we're asking God about a job offer or a job opening and whether we should put in a resume or not, whether we should ask for a promotion or not, whether we should move companies or not, what we're really asking is for God to reveal to us our purpose. Too many of us are content to keep asking about jobs, but there's something in our hearts that longs to know more. That wants to be assured of what God is doing in our lives, and it goes far beyond a nameplate on the desk or the door. 

When we're asking about a relationship, we're not really asking about our significant other; we're asking about ourselves. We're asking whether we're ready to take on the burden of togetherness - whether we have enough to offer, whether we've worked through our own baggage, whether we're capable of carrying someone else's. 

When we ask about whether it's time to have kids, we're asking about whether we are in a position to offer and nurture life, and to do it well. When we ask about buying a car, we're asking about provision and about good stewardship of our resources. When we ask about buying a house or moving, we're asking about location and impact. We're asking about community. 

It would be nice to keep things on the surface, but the surface will never draw us closer to the heart of God. If God faithfully leads us from one job to another to another and we never take the time to ask about purpose, we'll never find it. If we don't ask about meaning, we won't understand it. 

If we aren't asking God the real questions that we have, He can never answer them for us. And we'll be stuck living a circumstantial faith, always trying to figure out the next chapter and never the big story, and we'll miss both. We'll miss the life and the adventure and the incredible mission that God is calling us to if we never stop to ask what the real question is. 

So what are you asking God about right now? And then...what are you really asking Him about? How would it change the faith by which you're trying to make your decision if you were honest about what you really want to know? 

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

The Voice of God

Some of us, when we decide to start listening to the voice of God in our lives, discover fairly quickly that we don't know how to do that. We are a people who are very skilled at convincing ourselves of what God wants in our lives, only to discover that He never did, and this makes us nervous about believing anything we think we hear. 

Did God really say that? Or is that our inner voice? Or the voice of someone else in our lives? Or maybe the voice of "reason"? 

The trick to this, from a perspective of what the world calls wisdom, is to hedge our bets and simply conclude that "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." This is a problem, though, when it comes to living by faith because we know that God is good. And so trying to tack this worldly "wisdom" on to our faith journey often leads us to conclude that if something seems good, it cannot possibly be what God wants for us. 

This is probably the number one reason why so many of us miss out on the amazing, incredible things that God really has for us - because we've bought the lie that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. God's goodness sounds too good, so it's probably not true. And if God's goodness is probably not true, then God Himself is probably not real and all of a sudden, we're not just missing out on the amazing, incredible things that God really has for us, but we're also ready to turn away from God completely. 

But the opposite doesn't really work, either - we cannot simply say that because something sounds good, it must be God. That the goodness of something determines whether or not it's what He wants for us. Because the truth is that we often think that all kinds of things are good that turn out not to be good at all, and our selfish nature will lead us to want things that we shouldn't want and to convince ourselves that they are good. And if we can convince ourselves that they are good, then we can just as easily convince ourselves that they are God's will, and then we lead ourselves astray (and blame Him for it when things don't work out).

This is why it is so important that we figure out how to discern the voice of God in our lives. It's not just the goodness of our lives that is at stake; it is our faith itself. That is true for a lot of errors that we could make in this venture. 

So how, then, do we determine the voice of God?

A good place to start is to figure out what the answer you think you're hearing satisfies. Does it satisfy your immediate needs? Your primary considerations? Your biggest questions? Or does it satisfy your soul?

Does it feel like you're "settling" for the best available option? If you ever feel like you're settling, then it's not the voice of God calling you there. I promise. 

And then, it really comes down to whether this voice - and the decision it's inviting you to make - bring you peace. When you make a decision in a Godward direction, there's this confident assurance that just settles over your soul and lets you know that this is "right." It just feels right.

Now, that doesn't mean that you don't still have questions. This is where a lot of us get confused. We think that if we are confident in what God desires for us, that settles the whole thing, but often, there are still questions. What you can recognize, though, if you're listening well to God and to yourself, is that when you've made a faithful decision and chosen in a Godward direction, the questions shift. Sometimes, it's really subtle how they shift, but they shift and the questions you're facing aren't the ones you've just answered any more. The answer itself becomes the foundation for the new questions, and you aren't considering that choice any more; it becomes a given. 

It's all a quiet process. Really, it is. It can feel loud, especially when our souls and our lives are in turmoil, the but process of listening to God and making a faithful decision is almost unsettlingly quiet. If it's not, then I dare say that your flesh is still getting in the way a bit too much. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Listening In

When you're trying to faithfully make a decision, any decision, one of the things that you must first do is listen to God. That's a challenge for some of us who have trouble hearing Him, who maybe haven't heard Him speak in our lives or don't know what His voice sounds like. But it's not so difficult, really; it's about listening to those little nudges in your soul and learning to trust them.

This is true whether that nudge is positive or negative, whether it agrees with what you want to do (it often doesn't) or it doesn't. You can really save yourself a lot of trouble this way. Or perhaps wander into something completely amazing. 

Recently, I was presented with a job opportunity. It's an opportunity that in any other season, I would have jumped it. It still excited something inside me, although I recognized it wasn't as exciting as it once seemed. I prayed about it, of course (though if we're being honest, most of my prayer was, "Please, Lord"), but there was this nagging in my spirit that told me not to send the resume. That this job wouldn't be good for me. That it wasn't what God wanted. So I sat the resume aside, and I felt good about things. 

But...I didn't delete the email with the offering. So when I saw it again, it wasn't new, and I didn't stop to consider it in the same way as I had the first time. And, I sent the resume. I didn't get the job. I didn't even get an interview. I barely got an acknowledgement that I existed. And I had to feel the rejection and process the grief when, the truth is, I didn't even actually want that job any more. Five Years Ago Me wanted it, but today me didn't, and I set myself up for a whole lot of failure and heavy things I shouldn't have had to carry if I had just listened to the voice of God in the first place and trusted Him. 

Here's another example, to the other direction. This past weekend, I was in the local grocery store. A month or so ago after a friend located a product I had been searching for but never found, she sent me a photo of a juice that her kid loves, but hadn't been in stock for several weeks. She said, "Hey, if you ever find this juice, grab it!" So I agreed. 

This weekend, I didn't go down the juice aisle. It wasn't on my shopping list. But I always check out the clearance selection, and this week, the clearance selection was filled with the same brand of juice that my friend was looking for, but a different flavor. I mean at least three dozen gallons of the stuff. And a little voice whispered in my head, "You should go check out the juice aisle." 

I didn't go right away. But the voice kept nagging me. So right at the end of my trip, just before heading to the checkout, I made a quick run through the juice aisle and, wouldn't you know it? They had two jugs of my friend's juice. I texted and called her and stood there guarding these two jugs like precious jewels and she finally responded, "Oh my gosh, yes!" So I picked them up for her. 

I didn't have to go to the juice aisle. I could have ignored the whispers and the signs. I could have pretended I didn't notice. I could have said I didn't have the time. It was an inconvenience. But I got the incredible chance to be a blessing to a young child who, upon seeing the juice at church the next day, just started giggling like crazy. I could have missed that...if I hadn't listened to the voice of God telling me to go ahead and check the juice aisle. 

The point is this - part of living the faithful life and making the faithful decision is learning to listen to these little whispers that are, in fact, God. Learning to let them lead us. Learning to go where they are guiding us. Learning to do the hard things they are asking of us, whether it's closing a door or embracing a mild inconvenience. Whatever it is. We can save ourselves a lot of heartache and invite into our lives a thousand giggles, but we have to learn to listen. And obey. 

Monday, March 21, 2022

Faith in Season

One of the things that can be very frustrating about agonizing over making a faithful decision at a crossroads in life is that sometimes, you'll be making a decision that you've made before...or that you'll have to make again. 

Most of us want to believe that once we have made our choice, once we have gone down a certain path - especially one that we have labored so intensely over, prayed so fervently over, invested all of our energies in making faithfully - that we won't have to make that choice again. If today, I choose a certain path that embraces one opportunity and walks away from another, we'd like to think that the opportunity we've walked away from is one that we won't have to walk away from again. 

But anyone who has lived in this life for any length of time knows this just isn't true. There are some decisions that just keep circling back to us, and we have to make them again and again and again. 

In some situations, we might call this "temptation" - like God, or perhaps the world, is just trying to "get" us, just trying to make us finally break or cave in or trying to show us that we're not as strong and resolute as we think. And in some cases, that might be true. Like an addict who has to always choose sobriety or a dieter who has to always choose against that extra dessert, sometimes, temptation does come into our lives. 

But to say that every time we face the same choice, it is temptation is far too simple. And simply, it's not always true. In most cases, it would be an unfaithful decision to say that I will always choose exactly what I am choosing today. It is often not true that tomorrow's faithful decision is the same as today's. 

Because tomorrow is an entirely different day. Tomorrow is a new season in our lives. Our circumstances change. Our experience changes. Our opportunities change. We change. Our faith grows. The things that we could not faithfully do today, we might able to very faithfully do tomorrow. The things that might not be right for this season of our lives might be absolutely perfect for the next one. Or the one after that. This is where we come to the place in our lives where we're looking at a decision that we think we've made, and we make it in exactly the opposite direction, and something in our soul just says, "It's time." And we're okay with it. When yesterday, we might not have been; it might have wrecked everything. 

That can be very frustrating, especially if we're aware of this possibility at the time that we are making our decision today. Especially if part of our conclusion is, "Now is not the time." We then know that all of the painful considerations we've been thinking about this time, we're going to think about again. When we know that the long, sleepless nights and almost-unbearable days are going to come back to us in another season. When we know that all of this time, all of this energy, all of this prayer, all of this contemplation, all of these considerations that we're making right now are only for right now, that we're not actually making a decision for the rest of our lives. 

Unless, of course, that's what we choose today. 

And then that, too, must be part of our considering. We have to be careful not to choose something today just because it is the only option that keeps us from having to make this particular decision again. We have to be careful to know whether we are choosing a path or closing a door. And we have to be mindful of why we're doing that. Is it because it's the faithful thing...or the easy one?

None of us wants to make a hard decision today. None of us wants to make that hard decision again tomorrow. But the truth about us is that we live our lives in seasons, and that means that sometimes, things change. In fact, things often change. 

So be mindful today of the choice you're making. Is it today's choice...or tomorrow's? Is this a choice I'm making for my life...or for my lifetime? What does it mean if I choose this path or close this door? 

Am I prepared to do it all again if I have to? 

Friday, March 18, 2022

No Easy Choice

We're talking about how faith complicates things, particularly when we are faced with difficult decisions that we must make. Yet we also saw that God's not trying to trick us by offering one "right" choice and one "wrong" one; rather, He blesses us for making a faithful choice in either direction. 

And if that's the case, then it's tempting for us to fall into this trap of believing that maybe faith isn't the most important factor in making a decision. Maybe...we can make a decision based on our own interests, and God will simply bless us for going for it. 

Maybe we can choose based on what we think we deserve or what we most want to happen in our lives or what will make us most comfortable. Maybe we can choose based on which option offers us less pain or less trouble or less of a challenge.

Maybe we can just decide which option we like better and go with that. Because hey, if God is going to bless us either way, then we should just do whatever we want for whatever reason we want to and then bask in the glory of God that is going to pour out over us. 

That...would not be a faithful decision. 

A faithful decision never has selfish - or self-centered - motives. It doesn't consider itself, except insofar as it recognizes the gifting and calling of God on one's life. And let's remember that God never said we were not supposed to have hard things in our lives; He always said that we would. What God has said is that we have to learn to look toward Him in the hard things. 

The truth is that when we make a decision for our own comfort and just trust that God is going to bless us no matter which way we go, we're doing the same thing we talked about at the beginning of the week - we're trying to live a faith that is hands-off. We're trying to not have to think about the hard things or consider the viewpoint of God. We just want to live our lives. 

It's more devious, because instead of just giving our lives over to God, we are also trying to make them most comfortable for us. We are trying to have everything that we want and also trying to cover ourselves with the idea of God. It's the thief who crosses himself before he breaks into the jewelry store. Something is amiss here. 

So even if we know that God is going to bless us no matter which way we go, we still have to be mindful in our decision-making. We still have to consider the things of God above all else. When we sit down to make our list of pros and cons or whatever other factors we are taking into consideration, we have to keep the things of God foremost on our lists. We have to consider what He might want, what He might want to do, where He might be leading or calling us, what miracles He might have up His sleeve, what our lives might look like if He doesn't have those miracles for us, which way we should go that will draw us closer to Him. 

That's really it. That's really the primary consideration. When we're looking at two paths, or even more, our question has to be, how does this path wind its way toward God? He will meet us there, but when we consider which way it is that we will go, our job is to prepare ourselves to meet Him there, too. Our job is to be working our way toward God. Not comfort. Not ease. Not entitlement. Not reputation. Not prestige. Not honor. Not any of the thousands of other things our flesh so easily convinces us to move toward. But only toward Him. 

We still must be faithful in our choosing, even when there is blessing on both roads. For in the end, we are never moving toward an end, but toward a voice. Toward a calling. Toward a love. Toward grace. 

Toward God. 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

An Almost-Impossible Choice

It's an impossible choice, trying to decide what the faithful thing to do is in a tough situation. It's made even more impossible when we know that our God works miracles and that anything is truly possible with Him, when we have lived those miracles and they are so near to us that we can already see them coming true in our own lives. The impossibility of the choice comes because we recognize that sometimes, we aren't just making a decision for ourselves; sometimes, we are deciding what God is going to be able to do in our lives from here on out. Sometimes, we know that we're putting limits on Him, that we're the ones taking away the miracle that God might want to do, that we are choosing not to wait and see, but to move now...on a very limited knowledge. 

How can we ever make such an impossible choice? 

We make the choice by knowing something as certain as we know the miracles of God, and that is His goodness. We make the choice by realizing that God doesn't put these decisions in our lives so that we'll make the "right" one, but just so that we'll make a faithful one. Not "the" faithful one because the truth is that there could be more than one faithful choice to make, but just "a" faithful one - a choice based on our recognition of who God is, who He has created us to be, what He has called us to in our lives, and so much more that goes down into the very depths of our spirit and soul. 

When we realize that, we realize that a faithful choice is this - it is one that knows, by faith, that there will be blessing on either side of it. That God can and will still pour out His mercy and grace on us when we take that step and move in that direction. That even if it looks like we have limited Him, we have not put a limit on His goodness, and it will come rushing over like a flood when we commit our decision to His glory. 

That doesn't always make a choice easier. Every choice is still a mix of hope and faith and grief over the things that we haven't chosen and mourning over the things that aren't going to be possible any more and confidence in the faithfulness of our decision and a thousand other very real things that strike at the core of our human being that we have to deal with. And that we have to deal with just as faithfully as the choice itself. 

It doesn't do us any good to make a choice that we aren't willing to grieve. To make a choice that we aren't willing to hold onto with hopeful hands. To make a choice only to let go of everything and "just have faith" about it. That's not a faithful decision. That's not God-honoring. We said on Monday that faith is an active living, an active choosing, and that means that we don't just throw our decisions to the wind and hope that God picks them up somewhere; we make them knowing that the goodness of God is right in front of us, no matter which path we go down. 

The only question, then, is which path we are willing to engage. 

With all of its rocky crevices and steep drop-offs and underbrush full of thorns and maybe a few wildflowers, butterflies, and beautiful shade trees along the way, which path are we truly willing to engage, wholeheartedly, and embrace every bit of its journey in faith? That is the path that we must choose, and then trust that the goodness of God will meet us there. 

It's hard, but no one said the faithful thing is ever easy. Simple, maybe, but not easy. 

So as you stand at these crossroads, looking forward into a future that could go one way or another, how does it change your perspective to think that it is not one dark road and one light, but two roads that lead deeper into the goodness of God? What pressure does it take off your shoulders if you know that there is not one "right" road and one "wrong" one, but two that will take you straight to the heart of God Himself? What if, when you look at the choice ahead of you, you trust that no matter what path you take, God will meet you there? 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Limiting God

Believing in miracles isn't easy. Trusting in them is even harder. And making a decision when you are someone who both believes and trusts in miracles? Nearly impossible.

Because there are some decisions in our lives that, once we make them, put a limit on what God is able to do next. 

We don't like to say that. We like to believe that God is able to do more than we ask or imagine. And He is. But if you take the gas tank out of a car, you eliminate the possibility that you could ever fill it again. If you don't keep your refrigerator plugged in, it's not going to keep your milk cold; once it goes warm, it won't get cold again. Not in an unplugged refrigerator. So making that decision to unplug the refrigerator is hard. 

Now, there is a certain teaching of faith that tells us that if we have to unplug the refrigerator, if it's the "right" thing to do, if it makes the most sense for whatever reason, then we should unplug the refrigerator and just "trust God" to keep the milk cold. We should go ahead and drink that milk next week because we believe that God will keep that milk cold, against all odds and possibilities. But that doesn't change the metaphysical truth that an unplugged refrigerator will not actually refrigerate anything. 

It seems like a silly example, but the truth is that I'm struggling right now to come up with an example that is not the actual situation that I am facing, and it's not something that I am quite ready to share. Still, the truth remains - I know that there is a certain course of action that I could take right now that would forever prohibit God from doing certain things in my life, even by the largest stretch of the imagination (unless He would choose to do something that even He has never done before, and I suppose that's always possible, though wildly improbable). 

The point is - this further complicates the kinds of decisions that we have to make. No longer are we only making decisions for our own lives, but it feels like we are making decisions for God. It feels like we are making decisions about our faith itself. It feels like we are saying what kind of miracles we believe in and what kind we don't, and it's a big step to take to declare what God is no longer going to be able to do in our lives because we had to make a choice today that forever took that option away from Him. 

None of us wants to be in that position. None of us wants to have to declare which miracles we'll hold out for and which we won't, which we really believe in and those that we guess we really don't. That's really what it's saying, isn't it? We confess that we know God is able, but in the same breath, we pretty much say that we believe He's not likely to do something. That feels like...a very bold statement about the reality of our faith. Doesn't it? It feels like we're saying exactly how much we really believe in God. 

It is an impossible choice. 


Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Not By Sight

If faith requires an active choosing of our path through this world, well, then, let us make a choice. But the decision-making process of faith is quite different from the kind of decision-making process that we are used to. 

Most of us, if you ask us to choose something, will sit down and make a list of pros and cons. We'll start separating the data on how this situation might play out, and we'll try to include as many factors as we know for sure. We start playing different scenarios in our heads based on what we know, on what we can observe about how whatever this thing is actually works. This becomes an "if...then..." process. 

If we make this choice, then this will happen. But if we make this choice, then this will happen. And so on and so on until it seems clear to us what it is that we want to happen and what series of choices we must make in order to make that thing happen. Provided, of course, that we have considered everything that is in front of us. 

The difficulty comes when we recognize that faith introduces to us a whole host of things that we know, but cannot see. It introduces a whole list of variables that we wouldn't consider if we were only looking at what is right before our eyes. This turns our if...then... into an if...then...but.... 

If we do this, then this will likely happen, but God....

Because we know that God does things that we can't even imagine. Most of us have lived those kinds of moments. We have seen those things happen in our own lives. And that means that when we try to move forward in faith and make faith-based decisions, then our very faith itself has to become part of the decision-making process.

Yes, it might be true that if we do this, then this will happen, but let us not forget that Jesus walked out of a grave, for crying out loud. That God has been working miracles from the very beginning. That God alone decides what is good, and if there is something that God wants for your life, He's going to make it happen. 

It's this "but..." that makes making decisions in faith so difficult. It really is. I can look at a situation and calculate all of the variables and figure out statistically what is likely to happen and what the best path forward is, but there is always this constant nagging voice in the back of my mind, this constant tugging on my heart, that reminds me that the one thing I can never calculate, the one thing I can never fully account for, is God's mysterious and wonderful will. It's His grace. It's His mercy. It's His divine intervention. 

I can know that it's possible. I can even know that it's probable. I can know for sure that it's likely that God will step in and do something. But often, I cannot know what that thing might be. And in the process of decision-making, I can often foresee a circumstance on any side of my choices, in any direction that I might choose to go, where God might step in and bless that...or totally change it. 

And so, I must always be ready for what is and for what will be...and also be ready for what is and what will be to transform toward even more goodness than I could have asked or imagined (for we know that God's will is always good). 

I tell you - it's hard. It's hard enough to make faithful decisions based on what I can see of this world; it's even harder to make decisions based on the faith of what I cannot see.  But I have to. We have to. We have to remember God in our decision-making process and realize and respect the limitations of our own finite understanding. 

It's not if...then.... 

It's if...then...but God....


Monday, March 14, 2022

Live By Faith

Life often brings us to the most fundamental question of our spirituality. Namely, we must ask - and answer - what is faith?

Most of us have been taught at one time or another, or perhaps over the course of many (many, many) years, that faith is "trusting God, no matter what happens." And yes, but also quite importantly, no. In fact, I absolutely hate this "definition" of faith. 

It comes from this fatalistic understanding that we have of God, this notion that is not all that different from the Calvinistic idea of predestination - namely, God is God and He will do whatever He wants to do for whatever reasons He wants to do it, and our job is to jump on the faith train somewhere in our journey and enjoy the ride. Wherever we end up.

It's a very common teaching across many diverse denominations of the Christian faith, and if anyone were to question whether this is how we ought to engage God, it's fairly simple to step in and say, "Absolutely. Yes. Yup. For sure." And if you don't understand that, then we'll probably say something about how your ego is probably getting in the way, how you're still too self-absorbed and self-involved, how you haven't really "surrendered" yourself to God because you're still trying to have any control, any input in your own life. 

Quite frankly, this is not a God any of us can love. We say we do, but we can't really. This God is a narcissist (which, weirdly, we will also defend and say that, well, God is allowed to be a narcissist because He is, in fact, God). This God relates to us as pieces on His chess board, as mere ideas that He moves around in the world according to His own whims. Whatever those might be. And even if we're privy to what God thinks He's doing, we still don't get a say in it. We're just along for the ride, and we're told that if we really have faith, we're supposed to be not just okay with this, but happy about it. 

Woo hoo! God controls our lives, and we can never know what's happening in them or why except to blindly put our trust in a God we think we know, except we quietly confess that we really don't because if we're being honest, we have a lot of questions about who He is and what He's doing and why...

And all of a sudden, do you see how trying to have faith actually blows up our faith? It becomes this circular thing that digs us down deeper into this crazy hole where we're trying to believe what we can't understand so that we can understand what we believe, except that we're not sure we believe it after all because it doesn't make sense. We cannot make sense of our lives just by saying that God is in control of them because we cannot make sense of God if we do not understand the life He's given us. 

So it doesn't take much to give up and to just turn away. 

But faith was never meant to be like this. Faith is not some passive thing, some orientation toward life where we just let go of everything and let whatever happens happen and then try to convince ourselves to be okay with it. Faith isn't hands-off. 

It's all-in. 

Faith is an active movement toward goodness, toward God. It is not sitting back and letting things happen, but choosing things and going after them. Jesus said that it is the narrow road that leads to God, and if it is a road that takes us there, then we must be a people who travel. We must be a people who move. God must be calling us to move. To choose. To decide. To live. And to trust along the way. We're not hitching a ride; we're blazing a trail. And that requires us to be engaged, to be actively choosing our way through this world with eyes toward God and what He's doing and a heart that draws us closer to Him with every step. 

That's faith. 

We're going to talk about faith for a bit because, well, we need to. I need to. Faith is one of my spiritual gifts; God has blessed me in these places where this world and the next one meet, where faith bumps up against flesh (and vice-versa), and this weighs on me. Like the prophet Jeremiah, it shuts up in my bones, and I am weary of holding it in. Indeed, I cannot. So let's talk about faith itself for a bit and see where this road takes us. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Creating Space

There will be no blog this week. For the first time in 10 years, I am taking a week off. 

Some things are happening that require me to live my faith for a bit, to pursue both rest and wrestling with God, and I am choosing this week to carve out the sacred space to do just that. 

See you next Monday. 

Friday, March 4, 2022

Loving the Lord Your God

A strange thing happens when you start to engage the spiritual disciplines as we've been talking about all week - you start to fall in love with them. 

That sounds strange if you are someone right now who, say, doesn't love to read. Who doesn't even like to read. Who can't fathom the thought that you might one day love reading your Bible. But it happens. 

It sounds strange if you are someone who is not confident in your ability to sing, who thinks that the noise that comes out of your mouth is anything but joyful, who would very confidently declare that you can't carry a tune in a bucket. Who can't imagine there would be a circumstance in which you would enjoy worshiping the Lord through song. But it happens. 

It sounds strange if you're someone who cannot maintain enough focus of attention to even get through a "Dear Lord," let alone reach an "Amen," who is so uncertain about what you're saying that your prayer becomes silent, then trickles off into nothingness, who is overwhelmed right now with the uneasy feeling that maybe when you pray, you're just talking to yourself. Who can't believe there would ever be a day when you would sit and talk with God with confidence, and enjoy it. But it happens. 

It happens because when you finally figure out that gateway discipline, that spiritual discipline that most easily and readily connects you with God, it changes everything you think you know about the rest of the disciplines. And about yourself. 

It changes things because once you have that first connection with God, you can't help but want more of it. You can't help but want to know more, do more, be more, encounter more. You can't help but want to experience more, learn more, trust more. You can't help but sense, and even to know, that there is more of God out there, and you start to hunger for Him. You start to thirst for Him. Your mind and your heart and your will and your soul start to crave encounters with the divine, and you know instinctively that it takes more than just one thing to get you to the depths of Him. 

If you're someone who starts out reading your Bible because that connects with you, it's not long before you start craving rest. So maybe you start napping, too. If you're someone who walks with God because the activity stirs up something in your soul, it's not long before you start talking, finding yourself praying along the way because there's just something so natural about talking with someone with whom you are walking. If you're someone who sings, it's not a far step away before you become someone who also writes. If you're someone who prays, it's not long before you become someone who moves. And if you're someone who rests, it's not hard to become someone who reads. 

One spiritual discipline, done faithfully, can draw you into a life of the disciplines. It draws you into this place where you just have to have more. Your soul craves it, and you can't get away from it. You can't run from it. You can't outschedule it on your calendar because your soul just refuses to be drawn away or distracted. 

Do you know how many years I thought about running, dreamed about running, imagined myself as a runner before I actually ran my first steps? It got down into my soul, and it was this thing I wanted to do and to be and to become, and once it was there, I couldn't let go of it, even though it took years for me to actually put it into practice. The spiritual disciplines are the same way. It starts with this burning desire to be someone who does these things, to have these opportunities to connect with God, and once they get down into your soul, you just can't chase them away. Eventually, you will step into them. 

And when you do, your whole wide world will come busting open. Trust me on this. That's how it works. 

So if you are someone right now who says, nah. It's not for me. I will just never be someone who prays, reads the Bible, goes to church, worships, whatever...don't sell yourself so short. Find the someone who you are, find the discipline that comes naturally to your soul, and let that be the thing that opens doors to all of the other things that, I promise you, you will not be able to get enough of. Yes, even if that sounds strange right now. 

God has done stranger things. 

And maybe that's what you need to see, whether it's through reading the strange stories in His bible, seeing the strange creations in His glorious handiwork, dreaming strange truths in His rest, or whatever it is. Just get started. Just pick one. Just do something. And see where it takes you. 

(Hint: it will be somewhere breathtakingly glorious.) 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Engaging the Disciplines

So we're back to where we started, and where we left off - with the question: how, then, do we work the spiritual disciplines into our lives? 

And the answer to that question is actually simple: that's the wrong question. 

This is where so many of us are failing, and where we create so many problems for ourselves. We take our lives as we currently have them, look at our schedules, look at our commitments, and then we try to figure out where, exactly, we can "squeeze" in one more thing - a spiritual discipline. Where do we have time to read the Bible? Where do we have time to go for a walk? When on earth is there time to take a nap? And Sabbath? Forget it. 

Our lives are just busy enough as they are. We are booked from the rising of the sun to the setting of it. Our schedules are full. There is not room, for most of us to fit one more thing in, even one more thing that we really want to do, something that we would say is super-important. 

Did you know that most adult Americans put off going to the doctor because they say they don't have time? They put off routine maintenance on their car because who has an hour to sit in a service center? I know individuals who have refused to call technicians to fix failing appliances because they just don't have the time to sit around the house and wait on someone to show up to help them. And the same is true for the spiritual disciplines - most Christians keep putting them off because they just don't have the time. 

So here's what you do: make the time. 

That's right - make the time. Not by carving out a chunk of your free time from your schedule or by trying to multi-task by reading the Bible while you're at your kid's Christmas pageant or even necessarily by getting up earlier or going to bed later, cutting into your sleep, your rest, which is a spiritual discipline in and of itself. 

You make time for the spiritual disciplines by making them your priority. You make them the first thing on your calendar, not the last thing. And make them non-negotiable. 

That means that if you decide you're going to read your Bible in the morning, then your kids need to know that if they get up while you're reading the Bible, they will have to wait on breakfast. Teach them to read their Bible, too! Or to grab a poptart or whatever. If you want to have a Sabbath, pencil it in...actually, ink it in. Tell everyone who needs to know that you will not be available. You don't have to tell them why, although you could if you wanted to. I have found that most persons are very receptive to this and will respect your time. If you want to worship, set all the preset buttons in the car to Christian stations - make it a rule. You only listen to Christian music in the car. 

There are all kinds of ways to structure your life around the spiritual disciplines, and the truth is that if you want to engage in them, you're going to have to. 

And the weird thing is that when you do it this way, you find that you have MORE time, not less. It doesn't overcrowd your calendar. It might feel that way for awhile when it's new, but you'll find yourself settling into it and it becomes just part of what you do, and it doesn't take long before it doesn't feel like a time crunch or a luxury, but a regular part of your day. And a necessity. 

And it should. Because it is. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

A Balanced Approach

When we suggest that the spiritual disciplines include things that you might not have considered before (like napping, art, a walk around the neighborhood), what we are not saying is that you pick and choose how to engage with God. Well, not to that extreme, anyway. 

What we're not saying is that you should spend your entire spiritual life napping. Or painting. Or walking. In fact, I wouldn't even say that you should spend your whole spiritual life reading the Bible. Or praying. Or singing. 

The truth is that the spiritual disciplines are an incredible mix of all of these things, and they are called disciplines because, well, they take practice. And work. And commitment. And that means that we have to do all of them, that we have to keep working out our spiritual muscles in as many different ways as we can so that we can come to know and connect with God in a multitude of different ways. 

It's why we eat vegetables.  We know we can't live on just meat or just dairy or just bread or, unfortunately, just sweets, so we eat vegetables. Our bodies need the nutrients that they provide. 

It's why we can't do just strength training or just cardio; we have to do a mix of both in order to not only improve the way our bodies work, but to provide them the muscle tone and muscle memory to do things properly. 

We know that we have to take care of a whole system, not just a part of it, and that means engaging God with several different parts of our being. Our minds, our bodies, our souls, our hearts, our hands, our everything. 

If rest is your thing, then napping is a great introduction to spiritual disciplines, but then you have to add something else on top of that, something more active. Like maybe walking. In the same way, if reading and intellectual pursuit is your thing, then maybe you start with reading your Bible, but you absolutely have to add something creative, like art or cooking or something. 

The goal is that eventually, your life will be naturally filled with the spiritual disciplines, and you'll simply be connecting to God with every breath, with every single thing that you do. You'll recognize that God is not just one thing, that the faithful life is not just one thing, but it is a myriad of things, it is everything. 

The question, then, is how do we get there. By starting small and beginning naturally, yes, but then what? How do we work the spiritual disciplines into our lives? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Something Spiritual

If we're going to talk about the spiritual disciplines, then it makes sense to start out by talking about what these disciplines actually are. Most of us are pretty sure we know; the spiritual disciplines are all of those boring things we do at church on Sunday that we're supposed to fall in love with - reading the Bible, praying, singing/worshiping. When I was in youth group, we used to have as our standard answer to just about any Christian question, "pray, read the Bible, go to church." 

And then, we struggle because these things are hard for some of us. They aren't our natural inclination. So we tell ourselves that that's what makes them "disciplines;" they're hard. And they're supposed to be hard. 

What if the spiritual disciplines aren't supposed to be hard? (Spoiler alert: they're not.) 

Well, the first place to start is to reframe our definition of what the spiritual disciplines really are. Because yes, they include praying, reading the Bible, going to church, and worshiping, but they also include a lot of other things. Like...napping?

The spiritual disciplines are the things that we engage in that bring us closer to God. They are the things that connect us to His heart, to His character, to His goodness and to all that He has created in us and in the world. They are the things that engage us with Him, that put us right in the midst of what He's doing in His presence in our world. They are the things that we see His people doing with Him throughout His Word...and even beyond that. 

So is taking a walk around the neighborhood a spiritual discipline? It can be, if you're using that time to connect with God. Remember, God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day; He walked with His disciples around Jerusalem and Galilee; He joined His disciples on the road to Emmaus. From the very beginning, God's people have been walking with Him. So maybe walking with God - literally - is your spiritual discipline. 

How about art? Some of us just love to sit down and put pencil to paper or paint to wall. Is this a spiritual discipline? Remember that God endowed His creation with the ability to create. Remember, too, that when God was ready to build a dwelling place among them, He called craftsmen through their beautiful gift of art, and they were able to share that with His people to draw everyone closer to Him. It is absolutely a spiritual discipline to create - whether it's art or crafting or woodwork or even cooking. When you engage in the creative work that the Creator has instilled in you and you use that to connect with Him, that is a spiritual discipline. 

I mentioned napping earlier. Is napping really a spiritual discipline? Of course it is! God has called us to be a people who rest, not a people who toil endlessly like so many peoples in the world. Lying yourself down and entrusting yourself to His care while you feed your body's need for rest is absolutely a spiritual discipline. In fact, one of my seminary professors even introduced napping as a spiritual discipline during day 1 of a retreat-like course in spiritual formation. And then, he gave us the afternoon to "practice!" When we engage in rest, purposeful rest (not idleness or boredom), then we are engaging in a spiritual discipline. 

Maybe you're thinking about service. Service is an act of worship, and that makes it a spiritual discipline. If giving is the way that you connect with God, then engage in giving. Volunteer. Donate. Be conscious and conscientious about what you are investing in with what God has invested in  you. 

Anything that you do that connects you with God, if it is goodness, can be a spiritual discipline. It's not just the "boring" stuff - pray, read the Bible, go to church, sing - although it can include all of those. The spiritual disciplines are life-giving practices. So if you look at the list of the things that we usually think of, and your initial reaction is, ugh, go look for the thing that doesn't make you grumble. Go look for the thing that doesn't make you groan. Start there. Start with something you love. Start with something that lights the fire in you. Start with a discipline that brings you joy and turns you toward God. 

Take a walk. Cook a meal. Paint a picture. Have a nap. Whatever it is, start there. This is your spiritual discipline.