Friday Five: Disciplines

Jan writes:

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.

  • Spiritual practices
  • Prayer practices
  • Fitness disciplines
  • Food regularities
  • Sermon preparation routines
  • Artistic or musical practices
  • Practices you wish to develop
  • Which practice was routine for a season?

1. Fitness

I used to HATE working out. Hated. It. I have often called it “The Fat Tax”. However, over the last couple of years I’ve really come to enjoy it. Partly because I LOVE my gym and the people there and partly because of how I feel when I fall off the wagon. It feels great to do something for myself that is good for me.

2. Lent

I always do something for Lent, whether it’s give something up or add something. This year I gave up but for the last two I’ve added. It helps to remind me of my frailty and of the sacrifice made for me.

3. Music

I was a music student my whole life. I sang in choirs starting at age 4 and I started taking piano at age 7. I studied voice and piano in college and voice in grad school. I wasn’t always great at the discipline part, but there was definitely a need for it and I practiced as much as I could given how many jobs I had while I was in school. In addition to the practice, there was the studying and analyzing of scores and the translating of text. I liked that part less than the performing but it was super necessary in order to give a good performance.

4. Listening/Prayer Practice

Ever since I was in a spiritual formation group and then did some study of spiritual direction I’ve worked to discipline myself while I’m listening to people share their life stories with me. Rather than think of what to say next them or try to figure out the “right” response, I try to simply sit and intercede for them. I don’t mean intercede as in ask God to give them what I think they need, but rather hold them up into the light of God’s love and ask God to bring them what they need, to love them, to hold them and help them.

5. Gratitude

I’ve not been as good about this lately, but for years I would make myself list 5 things for which I am grateful before I get out of bed in the morning. As someone who doesn’t do mornings well, this is a good practice for me. I don’t think I was ever an ungrateful person, but having that perspective can’t hurt.

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