Thank God For Grace
As I come to the conclusion of my ten-week project, needless to say, because of the many major changes and disruptions in my life over the last few months, the “rule of life” developed by this researcher and spouse, was not followed consistently. It would be so easy for me to fall into legalism and feel as if nothing was achieved over the past ten weeks simply because the “rule of life” developed was not followed precisely. I believe many who begin to journey down the road of spiritual disciplines, attempting to live a “rule” which will help them to dive deeper into their relationship with God, quickly give up because they fail to fulfill the requirements for success they themselves created. The question that needs to be answered at the end of a set period of time is not, “Did I follow the rule precisely? Did I check-off each week the practices I promised to fulfill?”
The question that needs to be answered is, “Am I closer in my walk with God and living more effectively for Him since I started practicing the following spiritual disciplines, attempting to fulfill the “rule of life” I created?” Has this pastor and spouse grown closer to God and one another? Is this pastor and spouse living more effectively for Him since starting to practice those spiritual disciplines addressed in the “rule of life” created? My wife and I both believe the answer is “YES.”
Certainly, over the course of the last ten weeks, my wife and I have prayed together more often than in months past. The establishment of a “rule” helped push the discipline of prayer and study, reminding us each day to take time to be, to sit, with God. The establishment of a “rule” and knowledge gained about other spiritual disciplines helped open my wife and I up to Lectio Divina, vigil keeping, and the need for periods of silence. Even though several of the spiritual disciplines were not practiced consistent with the “rule” developed, there were several times over the ten weeks where God’s “still, small voice” was heard in a powerful way and God’s truth helped my wife and I deal with the many transitions and changes surrounding them. Though a spiritual retreat was not taken together, there is a commitment to go on spiritual retreat quarterly beginning this fall. Furthermore, the “rule of life” created for this project will be reevaluated, rewritten, and recommitted to this summer for the upcoming year, and the blog, “Deep Draughts of God,” will continue so that others may learn, share, and dialogue.
God is ready for us to spend time with Him. God is ready for us to embrace Him and allow Him to embrace us. God is ready for us to take time, to be intentional, in growing our relationship with Him. I will not give up trying to spend more time with Him, to go deeper, to listen, for God is waiting for me. And it is only in His strength that I can be the leader, the husband, the father, God has called me to be.
God is waiting for all of us. Why? The answer is simple. God loves His children and He has great plans for those who will sit with and draw strength from Him.