I can't say I've really had much indepth spiritual stuff going on this week. (Or even the last few weeks.) This has been a week where my spiritual life has been a discipline. Not a joy. Not a solace. Not excitment. But a discipline. Sometimes life is like that. You just plug on because it's the right thing to do.
At church a few weeks back, someone whose son was finishing up basic training for the Army Reserves said that the Army really is a great metaphor for spiritual training, especially in relationship to the word discipline. Basic training is generally unpleasant, difficult, exhausting, and grueling. But it is all done as a preparation for things that will or might happen later on.
That's what a lot of life is like. It's doing something hard so that we can reap the benefits in the future. Doing quiet time or going to church or choosing to listen to Christian music are things that make me think of that. It's about doing something that, at times, can seem trite and boring. But you make a choice to do it because you know it may prepare you for something in the future. The words you read or heard may be beneficial later on.
The times in life when you feel like you're enveloped by darkness and confusion are also discipline. Again, our brains have a tendancy to see discipline in a fileal way; we can't help but equate the word discipline to words like "Wait 'til your father comes home!" or the physical feeling of dread that comes from knowing a swat on the behind is coming. Tough situations, even the ones that totally reek of injustice and heartache, are not this type of discipline. And while I do believe not all situations are created by God, these situations can become God's version of boot camp. God uses them to prepare us for future experiences. Life's rottenness never seems pleasant at the time; I daresay, some events will never be pleasant no matter how many years separate me from them. But I do believe that by enduring them, I am better prepared for life.
So this week has been that kind of a week, I think. A week of choosing to be disciplined in my quiet time, even though I could have been watching tv or browsing the Internet or reading a book that I would have deemed much more fun. One full of plugging away even though I can't say I've seen or heard or done anything spectacular. One that makes me believe that the words that have been placed in my path this week will somehow benefit me in the future.