I love discipline. Give me something to be disciplined about, and I'll do it with a passion. I think that is why I enjoyed running so much, and why I had some success in high school and college. I'm not a natural athlete, but I can show up and consistently do everything required in practice. Do I need to be up every day at 5:30? No problem...I'll go to bed earlier. Discipline...sacrifice...it's what I like most.
A few months ago I started having a lot of problems in my life. Spiritually, physically, emotionally, and relationally. I keep a regular prayer journal, and I looked and saw that I had neglected writing in it for several weeks at a time. I threw running out the window, and watched more and more television. Who needed discipline? Not I!
Then I stumbled upon one of my new favorite spiritual books, The Celebration of Discipline. And in it, the author challenged me to be disciplined about my relationship with God. To seek Him every day, no matter what is going on. To have spiritual things I do (be it fasting, reading, praying, meditating, etc.) on a daily basis. By doing that, I will develop a deeper, more spiritual, more intimate relationship with God.
That sounds great to me! I can do that. I think we can find God everywhere. I think we've tried to find God everywhere. But sometimes we forget that it takes dedication to build a relationship. Even with a close friend, we must regularly invest in that person. The deeper the relationship, the more constant the investment must be. Showing up and talking to God every three or four days might get you an acquaintance, but not an intimate friend. Yes, God loves me and loves you. But we have to get involved in the relationship as well.
I look forward to the new year. I look forward to a deeper faith. I look forward to knowing God better than I ever have.