I have been wrestling a lot recently with the concept of becoming vs. doing. For much of my life, the driving force was what did I do? The more I did, the better, the more public, impressive, flashy, even greater. Yet as I read scripture it is abundantly clear that God is not impressed with our to-do list, but instead wants to look at your becoming list. Instead of asking what do I do, ask who am I becoming? Last week I wrestled with the concept of schedules, of what things we do, and invest our time. Does my schedule reflect the kind of person that I want to become? If I want to become a great tennis player, my to-do better include practicing tennis, healthy eating, and weigh training to name a few. If you want to grow as a Christian, what needs to be part of the doing in your life that leads to your becoming?
In the midst of what is often busy lives for us that are so often driven by the urgent, what helps hold it all together, and keep us moving in the direction of what we are becoming? This can be found in something called Spiritual disciplines. These can be defined as, “training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior.” Some examples: reading scripture, prayer, solitude, fasting, worship, fellowship, confession (for more and detailed explanations go to: (https://bible.org/illustration/spiritual-disciplines). The manner in which you intentionally live into these habits daily, weekly, and occasionally are called a Spiritual Workout. Like a physical regiment, it is done with intentionality and purpose, seeking to connect with God, and stay connected to God as you seek to become the person God is calling you to become.
My colleague Chip Sauer shared this quote about the impact of a Spiritual workout from a retreat he led, “My spiritual workout is like the music I need to listen to that helps me live/dance to the rhythm of God.” To me this helps me to understand the impact of a Spiritual workout. Listen to songs like “Chicken Dance,” “Twist and Shout,” or “Unchained Melody” and they make me move in a certain way, each differently. In the same way our Spiritual workout creates space for God to set a rhythm that moves us, drives us, and guides us in our everyday lives. Spiritual workout may be a set of practices done privately, but they help to keep us in rhythm with the work of the Holy Spirit. It’s hard to spend time in God’s Word regularly, and not have it impact how you live. It’s equally challenging to genuinely seek God’s wisdom in prayer regularly, and find yourself going the opposite direction that God is calling. My challenge for you this week: set a Spiritual work out for yourself. Be intentional that this will stretch you and help you become the person God is leading you to become. And give yourself some grace. Most habits take at a minimum 30 days to become normative. You will miss prayers one day, or sleep through the alarm, or forget to set aside time for solitude. Stick with it, and you will find that your workout shifts from this pattern you need to very intentionally stick with, to something that you can’t envision doing without, because it is such a part of the fabric of your day.