Learning Discipline in Lent

As I said a couple days ago, I have no rhythm when it comes to spiritual disciplines. Here's the thing about discipline (especially for a guy like me who leans a bit lazy) - you have to work hard, really hard, to implement the discipline into your life. There's no waking up with this new practice engrained into your routine. More newborn doe, less strutting buck. It's a lot of small, awkward, the-ground-is-shaking steps. But eventually, those steps become more of a gait, and you discover something sacred about time and space. This series on Lent is a daily excercise in two things: writing and spiritual practices. You see, I have to actually be observing Lent in order to write about it. And if I'm not observing daily, I can't just brush it off, because it means I will have missed a post. It is challenging, but it has been worth it. Of course...I missed a post last week.

So this begs the question, what do I do when I stumble in my spiritual practice? When I miss a day, or a prayer, or a scripture reading, or whatever it is. Prepare yourself for a deeply theological explanation...

You keep going.

You can't allow the stumble to turn into a halt. You can't pull up and quit out of guilt or shame. You can't play the victim or make excuses. You must keep going.

You're not starting over, you're carrying on. There's a big difference. Starting over means all is lost, and your previous efforts were pointless. This couldn't be further from the truth. Carrying on means that your stumble is temporary, and that it's the exception, not the rule. Your next step may be a bit shaky, but it must be taken.

I read a tweet yesterday that said something like: it's better to take one step today than wait to take a leap tomorrow. Brilliant.

So maybe your Lent observation, or daily prayer life and scripture reading is moving along swimmingly. That's great. I am thrilled for you. Maybe I need some tips.

For those who, like me, faltered inside of two weeks: don't give up. Take another step today. We'll learn to be disciplined together.

This is a part of a series of daily reflections on the season of Lent.