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?
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