The last five years have been a deconstruction and rebuilding of my spiritual foundation. I shied away from ideas that were outside of that nascent framework for fear that I would ruin the work. Whether or not this was a wise tactic, it happened. I have mulled over fewer intellectual arguments in the last few years than I would like because I was afraid I would find an train of thought to crush my spiritual development. It was, more than likely, a slower process than it needed to be because I was afraid to trust God to be bigger than man’s arguments.
But I am excited to be growing. “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn espouses a worldview with which I disagree, which I only discovered after I was halfway through the book. Still, it didn’t shake me; I held firm to solid Scriptures and kept reading. Even more interesting to me is that I ended up agreeing with some parts of his argument. I was able to see truth where it lie and discard what was not true. I didn’t feel any overwhelming sense of misdirection in my life; I felt that I had weathered a challenge successfully for the first time.
Oh, prideful me. What a humbling experience to say “first” and be proud. May God so empower me through his Holy Spirit to weather many more challenges to the foundation that the world is the LORD’s, and everything in it.
I have often put the disciplines of spirituality in a line behind my writing priorities: Once I get this figured out and that back on track, I’ll start reading/fasting/practicing silence/etc. This prioritization is a core strength and weakness: I don’t break my priorities list much, but I often have my priorities wrong.
Gospelized has become a spiritual discipline for me, which is very good; the downside is that I have been slacking a great deal. I live best when I am in the Word and forcing myself to think about how that relates to my everyday life so I can write about it. It’s how I keep thinking about God throughout the day; at my best, I didn’t want to get to the end of the day and have nothing to write on Gospelized. I want to get back there. I want to move all my spiritual disciplines up on my priorities list, and this is one of them.
Pray for my consistency in Gospelized; it is not my walk with the Lord, but it is one of many indicators tracking my faithfulness to the Lord in my daily life. And I need the Gospel every day; I need to live in the consciousness that I exist because of God, and I live to God, and I answer to God at the end of the day.
I go through so many of my days without thinking about Christ at all. What a terrible waste of a day; if I am not making much of Christ in my thoughts, how can I be making much of him in my actions? And if I am not making much of him in my actions, what am I making much of? What am I wasting my time pursuing? For it is not ever what I do, but always how and why I do it that makes a difference. I am rarely doing things just to do things – I do things for a purpose. If that purpose is anything but the glory of Christ, what a waste of a day. May I ever remember why I do what I do, giving thanks and praise continually.
I stress when I forget that I am not God, and do not have to get everything done all the time. It is a constant struggle; I want to be disciplined, but I don’t want to slip into legalism. I want to trust God, but I don’t want to sit around when I should be working. I want to work hard, but I don’t want to run myself into the ground. Where is the line? Where is the point between “Cease striving” and “As you are going”?
Learning about God and myself enough to know the answer to these questions is probably a discipline, which is definitely one of the least helpful answers I’ve ever concluded.
Oh God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Please show me when to work and when to stop.
Tragedy brought about this art project. It seems that tragedy was is sustainer, as well — I’ve fallen down on the art because I haven’t had anything to say. But I don’t believe that happiness is the end of art. I believe that art built from a calm ground is different than pieces birthed out of choppy waters, but it can be just as good. There is much to be marveled at, much to be wondered over. God is still to be sought, and that provides enough conflict for a dozen dozens of blogs.
I have to seek it out; the situations do not attack me. It is a discipline to look for the art in the everyday; this is why William Carlos Williams is one of my favorite poet/authors. I’m now realizing how difficult a discipline it is. I don’t just have to be disciplined every day to write; I have to be disciplined every day to see. And that is a much bolder task, to be alert at all times to the wonder and conflict that a life lived in the presence of God brings, and to build from those pieces art.
I will start seeing. It will be fitful, as with any new discipline. But I want to see, and from that, to make. There will be ups and downs; in the future there will be difficulties that make writing a vital necessity instead of a discipline. I know not when, but they will come, and I will face them in the knowledge that Christ is with me. Until then, I will look for God in the everyday.