- If it's spiritual, why do I have to "do" anything? Isn't "spiritual discipline" an oxymoron?
- Sounds selfish. Why not do something for somebody else?
- Is this about the "big 3" disciplines from Judaism that Jesus talks about in his sermon on the mount (prayer, fasting, giving)?
OK, you got me... these are my thoughts that often rise up when thinking about spiritual disciplines. But it's not because disciplines are a bad thing -- it's just my cynicism and rebeliousness coming to the forefront.
A friend challenged me to write down some personal disciplines that are simple, achievable and have an impact. Here's what I came up with:
- I will smile and use the name of service-people I come in contact with (waiters, cashiers, etc...).
- I will read the bible with an open mind to learn new things, not just reaffirm what I've always thought.
- I will listen to God's lessons in daily relationships, discussions, experiences and challenges. He can teach me through the ordinary as well as the extraordinary.
- I will remind myself that other people are priceless souls, just like me. They are all worthy of respect and unconditional love.
- I will use the internet to become a better person.
- I will use film the same way (will watching this movie give me an opportunity to grow?).
- I will find my niche in work that is fun, rewarding and fitting, but I won't worry about it. I will trust God with my career.
- I will put my family relationships above all other earthly ones. They come first and should get my best, not my leftovers.
- I will pay attention to people in need, and try to meet those needs.
- I will remember that redemption is not dependent on what I do. I will relax about eternity and try to stay in the moment.
- I will give myself room to screw up all of the above.
If this year has taught me nothing else, it has given me an appreciation and acceptance of people across all walks of life. My list above may have absolutely no relevance to you at all, and today I can accept that and inquire about your own life lessons, hoping we can all learn together. Life's too short to keep learning lessons the hard way through personal experience. I'm ready to cheat off somebody else's work for a bit. :)