Spiritual formation is more than a passing fad or the latest interest in the church. Spiritual disciplines are absolutely necessary for development and growth. Guest post by Rhesa, Kraig, and Lance have helped us see that. Yet, many of us continue to struggle in practicing the presence of God. And there’s one reason: Boredom.
Boredom is your biggest hurdle engaging and being shaped by spiritual disciplines. Some great practitioners of spiritual disciplines, will bristle at that, but it’s true. While they now faithfully practice prayer, solitude, silence, fasting, etc…, they didn’t start that way. For most of us, what enlivens and excites us now about spiritual disciplines began as drudgery.
A Quick Story
Years ago when I played golf, I spent lots of time at the practice range. Rochelle and I were childless at the time. She had a number of friends and hobbies to occupy her, so frequently, I’d grab my clubs and spend a few hours at the range. Each week my skills got better. Until they didn’t.
I wondered why I was spending two nights a week, hitting 100 golf balls each night yet petering out in my development. It was then I read an article about Tiger Woods. I learned that while I was hitting 100 golf balls twice a week, Tiger was hitting 100 golf balls with each club every day. Then he would play a practice round…or two. I thought, “There’s no way I could hit 100 balls with each club. That would get boring.”
Spiritual disciplines are kind of like that. To become blessed by them, to begin to drink deeply from engagement with God, you have to fight through some initial boredom. In a fast-food, microwave, ten-second download world, that’s tougher than it sounds.
Daily Bible reading, journaling fasting, tithing, and other disciplines begin shiny, but quickly show wear. At least three times as a boy, my family started to read the Bible in a year. We started out strong. Genesis and Exodus are great, exciting, and, well bloody, but by the time Leviticus rolled around, we were done. Plus, baseball season was starting.
But spiritual disciplines don’t have to degrade into boredom. If you can make three mental shifts about the nature of knowing God and experiencing God’s daily presence you will find that boredom flees and engagement increases. Here are the three mental shifts: