What Spiritual Discipline Really Looks Like

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I never really prescribed to this very legalistic ideal of “even if you don’t feel like doing it, just do it anyway” when it came to my quiet time. I felt like that was too legalistic. Like it was just a way of checking off a box. I am not a very disciplined person to begin with, so the thought of forcing myself to do something when I really don’t want to, no matter what it is, doesn’t sound that appealing to me. I hear those statistics all the time, that if you want to create a habit, do it for some many days straight and it’s a habit. I feel like the number changes about as frequently as the number of days it takes to lose x amount of weight but I digress, what matters is that consistency is key. But in that consistency, is there always a willingness to keep it consistent? I think that in any area of our life, not just a spiritual discipline, there is no way a willingness for consistency is present 100% of the time. I realized that the aforementioned “even if you don’t feel like doing it, just do it anyway," is for once the discipline has been established, to continue the discipline. Not to build it. Thinking of it as a way to build it instead of maintain certainly opens us up for legalistic thinking rather than viewing it in the light of discipline maintenance.

I journaled every day for two straight years. Pretty much. I maybe missed a day here or a week there but I would always, always pick it back up. Almost my entire sophomore year and almost all of my junior years of college were documented through prayers to God as I discovered my identity in Him. All of a sudden, I just fell away from it. I’m not sure what happened but whereas before I’d go through a journal every three months, I’ve been using the same journal since April of 2017. Just over a year in the same journal. It would sit untouched for months on end instead of its pages being filled. I’m not sure what happened. Maybe my walk was changing, I didn’t need the dependency of writing out my prayers to God in order to have close relationship with Him. But I still felt distant in other areas because I fell away from the habit. I used the first bit as an excuse after a long while and then I finally realized I had completely lost the habit. That was why it had been so long at this point. I had to rebuild the habit.

I tried to find the answer for so long. I didn’t feel like I had just fallen out of love with God. I hadn’t felt like I had regressed in my spiritual walk. The answer had to be something else. And it was a lot simpler and not quite as spiritual as I thought. I had just fallen out of a habit. I had actually grown spiritual because I had grown out of the dependency to pray to God only through journaling, but I didn’t realize that in growing in that area, I was losing a habit in a similar one. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Now I want to pick back up the habit because well I just want to.

Is there a habit/spiritual discipline you’ve always wanted to form? Try picking it up for seven days. Just one week and see if it’s something you want to stick with.

Marisa Williams // @marisathebibliophile

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Hey y’all! I’m Marisa! I’m a twenty-two year old recent college grad from Western Kentucky University. I have a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in Folk Studies. I’m originally from Dayton, Ohio but have lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky for the last twelve years. I like all things chocolate and ice cream related (especially chocolate ice cream), I love to write about what I’ve learned on my walk with God, and when I’m not writing, I can be found crocheting, reading, or playing my ukulele.