My wife and I finished the Whole 30 diet a few weeks ago. Don't worry. This is not an advertisement for the next fad diet (though we did feel really good afterward). The premise is pretty simple. You avoid foods that commonly cause inflammation, such as processed sugars, gluten, dairy products, and legumes. Then after 30 days, you add those things back into your diet one by one and see how your body reacts.
It was tough for us to avoid our go-to comfort foods, but the 30 days of discipline really did serve us well. That experience, and this classic article from H. B. Charles on the #HealthyPreacherMovement from a couple years ago, have got me thinking about spiritual disciplines.
Just like with physical training and dieting, I know that disciplining myself spiritually will reap some great benefits, but I so often default to what is most comfortable. In fact, I often find it easier to discipline myself physically than spiritually. Spiritual growth is subtle and comes slowly over time, so it's easier to miss and requires more discipline to sustain.
Instead of beating myself up for my lack of spiritual discipline, I'm choosing to focus on the discipline of Advent this season: establishing patterns of remembrance, rehearsing the powerful words of the gospel. Like with weight training, it's the repetition that shapes me. Let me never forget the One who came to earth to redeem us, and will come once again for us in the fullness of time. Amen.
Keep reaching out,