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.)