Have you ever had that period in your life where you felt drained, empty, and utterly spent? I have felt that way many times in my life, even in seminary.
I, like most Christians, will simply drudge along or quit my habits for a bit, taking a break from it all. So the question that has plagued me for sometime was, how can someone who maintains a routine in a life of busy-ness, still stay vibrant in their relationship with God? After all, there has to be something more than just getting by with life and “mailing it in.” To quote a Switchfoot song, I want to thrive and not just survive!
This question was posed to me again while reading through books for my Spiritual Traditions class. The books looked over the lives of many giants of the faith from the initial generations and onwards, providing solid glimpses into their habits. The thing that stuck out to me was that their routines and rhythms worked. They thrived in their lives through a rhythm of life centered around Christ. It made me further conclude that we are creatures of habit, and cultivating a flow of prayer and Scripture reading will help the individual grow in depth.
These monks and nuns lived a life of incredible intimacy, and the theme that I have picked up in their lives is that they lived disciplined in their world. They lived according to certain guidelines, praying at regularly assigned times, and spending purposeful time in study, solitude, and silence. Their routine of faith opened up opportunity to be flexible in their spiritual lives.
Of course, most people cannot become monks and nuns. Most people have jobs, family commitments, lives, and other responsibilities which keep them from the life of a modern day monk (which are as important, in God’s eyes, as a life dedicated to vocational ministry at a church/monastery) . Our hesitancy of any sort of religiosity (read: stereotypical “Pharisee religion”) in contemporary Evangelicalism is what holds many back, including me at times. However, being spontaneous all the time can be draining. Borrowing from Paul, I would suggest that the training our spiritual bodies like an athlete opens up new avenues of intimacy and depth with God. With joy and the inner-working of God’s gracious Spirit, any person can indeed cultivate a more full life. God can be a part of the busy life we lead when we are intentional with our time. So I would like to encourage you this week to schedule time of devoted prayer, setting your alarm clock fifteen minutes earlier or kneeling next to your bed for a few minutes. Invite God along your busy life, you won’t be disappointed.