Spiritual disciplines

I am taking a Spiritual Formation class this semester. I am finding the class to be one of the most important I have taken so far. It is challenging me and stretching me in many ways. One thing we have to do is to adopt a spiritual discipline for the semester.

I debated whether to fast once a week or use centering prayer. I know I have issues with food. My thinking was if I could fast once a week, it would not only draw me closer to God but also help me face the issues I do have with food.

I also find centering prayer to be invaluable. We are doing it in class for ten minutes each time. I actually find this to be difficult and usually cry. But I am connecting to God on a deep level during these times.

I decided to do both disciplines. Unfortunately my first week I labeled a failure because I did not accomplish either task.  When I sat down to do the prayer I became distracted and the silence became haunting in a way. It dawned on me that silence used to be something that happened in our household growing up. There was a lot of screaming but after that was silence- for days even. To me silence meant anger and disappointment. So instead of doing it for twenty minutes, I am going to do it for ten (that is how long we do it in class). Each week I will up it by a minute.

Fasting didn’t happen either. I got up and ate on Wednesday. That just made me give up trying that day. I realize that I am putting pressure on me that is not needed. The fasting I need to take in smaller chunks too. I will start by fasting one meal for one day a week. Then make it two. If I can, I will make it all day.  That way I am not FAILING but making progress. This is about connecting to God, not just accomplishing a task for class.

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