creek and trees with a hammock

Spiritual Disciplines and My Own Journey

Every week, we record a podcast that discusses more details from the Sunday message (you can listen to the latest episode here), and I had a chance to touch on something that needs more attention. Most readily acknowledge the reality of personality and the tendencies that accompany each. Extroverts differ from introverts; thinkers operate differently from feelers, and you could find dozens of similar contrasts. But several years ago, Gary Thomas wrote a book about spiritual temperaments and how they relate to spiritual disciplines. Sacred Pathways was that book.

I have always loved the outdoors. The majesty of mountains, the rushing misty wind created by a large waterfall, sunrises on the beach, the magnitude of the ocean, the delicate steps of a deer on dry leaves–all of these tend to “move” my heart. I thought it was just because I was raised around a farm and the wild nature of the woods, but I have always loved nature. So, my most prominent spiritual temperament is that of a naturalist. If you feel close to God when sitting on a deer stand with frosty breath and still silence, you may be one, too! I am awed when I am enjoying the creation of God. I don’t worship it, but IT moves me to see God’s bigness. So, when I read the Psalms and hear the psalmist say, “When I gaze into the night skies and see the work of Your fingers: the moon and stars suspended in space. O what is man that you are mindful of him?” it’s MY heart’s song.

Alongside that is the world of simplicity, solitude, and silence, which are aspects of asceticism. So, when I do not utter a word, turn off all electronics and media, and create a world of overwhelming silence, I feel like I am creating space for God’s voice and His alone. To pray in these settings, to study God’s Word in this environment, to journal or write music with this backdrop is to make my heart sing.

When I began to explore this, the spiritual disciplines of fasting, prayer, study, meditation, and worship took on a new depth and power. And I’m so grateful to have made these discoveries.

Soon, I’ll disappear into the woods wearing my hiking boots with my books and journal in hand. I’ll turn off my phone and leave my computer behind, and I will have long walks in silence, listening for the still, small voice of the Lord, looking for where He is at work and waiting for Him to beckon me onward with direction.

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