There are three spiritual disciplines I find myself drawn to lately. The first is Scripture Memorization. Memorizing allows us to go deeper with God’s Word. Memorizing allows the thoughts and words and story of God to creep into our minds and take up residence there in more permanent ways. You know how we can memorize the words to a song and find ourselves singing that song over and over without even realizing it? I want that to be the case for my thought life and scripture. The devil has a harder time influencing our minds if there is scripture stirring around there…..and if he tries, we are better able to discern that it is definitely NOT the voice of God. Scripture memory builds a strength that I really want.
The second discipline is solitude. I heard a sermon once that said that we must teach our children to be comfortable being alone. This is really hard for some of our trauma kids but if you think about it, if God calls your child’s name, the child may not hear or recognize the voice of God if they are not comfortable with being quiet and still. Before I can teach this to my child, it must become a discipline for me as a parent and I actually find this one easier. I get stressed out with too much noise, so I find myself sitting in the quiet more than not. For me, solitude means silence, but it doesn’t have to. Solitude can just be alone time, too. It is in solitude that we can take our own emotional temperature, focus on our breathing, our listening, the intensity of all our senses and it does matter to do this, to know ourselves in a way that is accepting and not reflected by someone else’s opinions or statements or emotions, just solitude. Myself. and God. My two adopted kiddos need me to model this but then to be that quiet presence with them for now, and help them to regulate into solitude. They don’t get a pass just because its hard, but we are going to start working at it, maybe at bedtime after stories and prayers, maybe swinging in the backyard hammock……
The third discipline is Sabboth. Many of us consider Sunday to be our day of Sabboth but in my house, I find Sunday to be the least restful day of the week. The frenzy before church usually means I show up to “worship” sweaty and crabby and on the heels of very bad parenting moments. Sunday noon is me scrambling to get dinner ready because everyone is STARVING……and then we eat and everyone disappears to do their thing except the two littlest kids who look up at me and say something like, “I’m bored! What are we gonna do today?” and so the afternoon is playing and entertaining, not resting. By Sunday night its time to open the weekly planner and look at the week and how to juggle everything and everyone……..so Sabboth is becoming more creative for me.
I can take a mental health day and experience Sabboth. I’ll write about that separately some time. I can do a Spiritual Retreat for Sabboth. (That’s probably a separate post as well.). Sabboth is time set aside for rest. Rest. I’m hearing a lot about Rest from the Lord and from some of His Saints that I get to rub shoulders with a lot. There is a call to rest happening, folks. I can say that with certainty. I hear it in the songs on Christian radio. I see it on blogs and facebook. I know God is summoning me to it all the time. My Sabboth rest starts today. It is the week of our family vacation. I will experience Sabboth at a lake house with dozens of extended family, as well as my group of 7. I know I will rest because even now, as I pack up the final things and go to the store for a few more food items, I can feel rest settle in. Sabboth is seeping into my skin, my heart, my thoughts. Visions of sunrise over the water and the sound of kids splashing on the beach. Expectations of good food and laughter and reading my novel and taking photos with a real camera, not just my phone.
Fruit trees only produce fruit in season. Once the fruit has been picked, the trees enter a season of rest, and not being productive, and not caring what they look like. They turn inward, shedding off the last of the harvest and they go still and quiet and bare for awhile and rest. In the spring, they are awakened again to fulfill their mission which is to bear fruit.
Sabboth is God’s call to us to be fruitful over and over, but only if we can rest. Solitude allows us to know ourselves better. In that knowing we can determine whether we need Sabboth more often, or less, and what it takes to fill us up over and over again. Scripture memory empowers us to follow the plan and purpose of the Lord and not to drift into the hopelessness of this fleeting world.
Take time for these and all the other Spiritual Disciplines offered to us. Fasting, Prayer, and Study are active disciplines that are part of the offensive line of this Christian journey……but also consider the more defensive disciplines that protect and defend our souls and allow us to “be” and not just “do”.