Jan at RevGalBlogPals says: I so often think I have little “discipline” in my life, but there has to be a certain amount to survive and accomplish anything. Think about the various disciplines you routinely (or semi-regularly) participate in–or formerly practiced. Tell us about five in any (one or more) category(ies) that you feel like discussing.
I’m not a member, but I spend a bit of time over there, and this is particularly appropriate as I consider how disciplined I have been in the past and how undisciplined I have been lately. The lack of imposed structure has been hard on me. I look forward to having a job again someday, just to give some shape to my life.
Spiritual Practices: This has varied over the years, but when I was in college and still attending anti-liturgical churches (many of which have dipped their toes into quasi-liturgical practices since then), I found a Celtic Prayer Book that gave structure to my time with God. When I was in college, I tended to do evening prayer and after college when I started teaching, I would get up in time to do morning prayer. I used the scriptures in the book for a few years and then I did read-the-Bible-in-a-year scriptures for a few years and currently I am using the weekly Lectionary scriptures (something I didn’t even know about) and going through the same ones all week, when I manage to have an intentional time with God. Since I started graduate school and my schedule has been less set, I don’t have the rhythm and sometimes I try to do morning or evening prayer, but it doesn’t last more than a few days. I would like to do something along these lines with my children, but haven’t been very successful at starting it.
Prayer Practices: Along with the above, one prayer practice I’ve stuck with is an accordion paper with four spots on each side labeled with the days of the week and everyday on the eighth slot and people and issues I want to pray listed out. I keep it in my prayer book and it’s a good organizational tool for me as I just pray through the names and the situations I am aware of and those I am not. I’m also just starting to pray the Psalm for the week as adoration to God before I begin requests.
Fitness Disciplines: Most of my life has been very undisciplined, but about a decade ago, I decided to get fit and became very disciplined. I did at least 45 minutes of exercise every day without fail. Marriage to someone who is naturally thin and doesn’t exercise has made that more difficult. Children have made that even more difficult. But, since Lent this year, I have been getting back into it and am trying to get in at least 1/2 hour every day. It’s not as rigorous as it was before, but I’m doing something.
Food Regularities: I enjoy food so much more when I am being disciplined, but as with everything else, I go back and forth. I am no good with moderation–I did learn that about myself at some point–so with food, I have to stay very disciplined. I’m not the person who can eat one cookie and satisfy a craving, but if I eat no cookies, I don’t really crave them–but if I know they’re there, I’m going to eat them at some point. It’s all or nothing for me. I’m back to being disciplined which, even with the kids, isn’t as hard as I imagined. I just don’t eat snacks and I think through what I will eat for the day and make sure I have good foods on hand. And I make oatmeal raisin cookies with Bubble because I don’t care for raisins so they don’t tempt me.
Sermon Preparation Routines: Obviously I don’t write sermons, but I do write papers and I was talking about this the other day. I think about my original text and think about it and think about it. Eventually an idea forms and I start doing research. I do all my research and gather all my sources and then I write and write and write. I used to average a page an hour if I had done all the mental prep work ahead. But the dissertation has been completely different, and I’m not sure why, but I’m still struggling with it and with getting any more than a little bit done at a time. Which is why I’ve been thinking about discipline. I seem to have none.
Which Practice was Routine for a Season?: They have all been routine for a season and none of them is routine currently.