Spiritual Goals Failure

I confess: my spiritual life this summer is not going as I had planned.

I had planned to fit in some quiet time each day to stay caught up on my Bible reading. 

I had planned to maybe do a fast ever-so-often to acknowledge that sometimes I desire food more than I should and to temper that time with prayer.

I had planned to be more prayerful and practice more spiritual disciplines.

I had planned on practicing the presence of God more.

I haven't done much of any of those things. I am reading some good spiritual writing, yes. And I take time every once in a while to journal/blog--especially after church so I can reflect on what God's saying to me. But these are my typical practices.

Yet, it doesn't do me any good to feel shame about my lack of progress. 

Maybe I just need to adjust my plans to what the realities of summer are. I do need to be more spiritual disciplined--that I will still confess.

But I am also connecting with God--just not in the ways I had planned. 

When I am outside in natural settings, I tend to be more in-tune with God's presence. And I am outside a lot more in the summer. It is refreshing and draining at the same time.

I am in my yard a bit more, which helps me connect with neighbors more. I am spending more time with friends at soccer practices, camping trips, and picnics. I am connecting more with others. When I am more connected to others I tend to be more connected to God. Relationships are at the core of a spiritual life. It is how God created us to be.

I am with my children each day. Now, while sometimes they do want to make me curse, most of the time we are together enjoying summer activities and I am striving to be a better parent. In practicing a more conscientious fatherhood, I feel more connected to my Heavenly Father.

I am also enjoying life more. Yes, there is a never-ending stream of housework and chores to do. I am trying to work on some writing projects and marketing my book. Summer is very busy. But I also don't take it as serious as I do the rest of the year where I'm giving it all at work, then coming home to make supper and clean, and not having much time for other things. And it's not that I'm not enjoying the rest of the year, but I'm definitely more caught up in the busyness of life. With about 10 weeks of summer break, I want to make the most of it. And I think God intends life to be as much about enjoyment as He does work. Often our work distracts us, makes us more selfish/greedy, or diverts us from the things that matter.

And, yes, I can often distract myself with meaningless distractions. I work a lot, to be sure; but I confess to times when I get lost in something that's really a time waster. 

There's a lot about summer that doesn't go as planned. I think I always expect it to be three full months long, rather than just two. I haven't been in my hammock once.  So I guess that's maybe part of the lesson: I need to slow down sometimes and rest, I need to stay focused in the work I'm doing and not get distracted by inessential things, and I need to remember that God desires a relationship with me--not a checklist of dos and don'ts.

The summer's not over yet.

1 comment:

pedro said...

Thanks for the reflection. I appreciate the attention to the Sabbath of which you've reminded us.