Monday, July 24, 2006

Rambled Thoughts on Spiritual Growth

I just started reading Tony Jones' book about spiritual disciplines, The Sacred Way. I didn't really choose this book it sort of chose me. It's been on my shelf for over a year, but as I was cataloging my books (yes, I am a geek) it piqued my interest and I had just finished a book so it was time to pick out new one - so I grabbed it off the shelf. Good timing...

Recently I have been pondering the idea of spiritual growth. It seems kind of odd that I could pick actions and map out a plan for my growth - like following a training plan for a marathon. It seems almost like telling God what he's going to do in my life. Yet, there is something to the intentional practice of seeking God. I guess when one opens oneself to the movement of God great things happen.

In the second chapter, Jones quotes a monk named Henri Nouwen:
In the spiritual life, the word "discipline" means "the effort to create some space in which God can act." Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up...In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn't planned on or counted on.

I like this idea that by attempting to practice spiritual discipline growth can occur, but that growth occurs only because God takes our willingness and works in ways that we had not planned on or counted on. My plans for spiritual growth can not confine God in some box to make me grow according to my plan. Rather God takes that small, feeble attempt to seek him and turns it into something wonderful. How cool is that?!

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