Friday, May 28, 2010

A practical spiritual life

Sometimes - and today would be a good example - I think it would be good to set all my other work aside and work exclusively on my new book. I enjoy all the writing I'm involved in, but once in a while - and today would be a good example - I feel fragmented and unable to focus.

Instead, I will:
  • Write a new "10-Ways" list for
  • Write an article about the "Keystone Heights Alliance to End Childhood Hunger" for the United Methodist News Service.
  • Spend around an hour on the phone, trying to line up my next "preacher profile" for the Tampa Tribune.
  • Outline an article Upper Room Books asked for, designed to support a new marketing initiative they're planning for "The Unmaking of a Part-Time Christian".
  • Time permitting - work on some ghost-writing I've been asked to do for a high-profile national Christian leader who thinks my words might sound good coming from his lips.
So you can tell why I'm feeling a little stretched about now!

But this is where a spiritual life that means something makes such a staggering difference. Here's how it works (is working) for me.
  1. I am spending a lot of time in the Bible, seeding my subconscious with words of hope and grace.
  2. I deliberately meditate on scripture, every day, and I seek to be in the presence of God in a variety of circumstances; I actually invite God into my activities.
  3. God's word then speaks into my experience. Verses I have read are available and are recalled (is it me, or does the Holy Spirit awaken the memory? - Yes...). God works with the material I have made available.
  4. Consequently, in moments like this, I recall Psalm 1 - from yesterday's Bible reading - and I am reminded that "[My] delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law [I] meditate day and night. [I am] like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season..."
This isn't magic - it's spiritual discipline. Because I am deliberate and consistent about a few simple principles of spiritual life, then I am - absolutely - different in the way that I approach my work and I am - absolutely - more capable of achieving some measure of sanity in the middle of a stressful, fragmented day like today.

It's not rocket-science; it's not supposed to be. But, the spiritual life does require a little effort - and sometimes a lot.

Try it - DEREK

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