Monday, February 23, 2009

Spiritual Disciplines Part 4

Friday - I corrected my mistakes this one day, and planned to talk to Rich right after class about a pressing issue with one of my family members. It worked and I felt so good about it. I found that the rest of the day I randomly was talking about all the stuff from class and chapel.

Saturday and Sunday - I didn't plan for the weekend, temporarily forgetting that I don't have class or chapel on Saturday. Today, though, I actually did okay. I did talk briefly with Grace about church and how it was the same sort of stuff that we just went through in class. But I cut that conversation short and felt really bad about it later because I don't know where it would have gone.

I feel pretty much the same as I did with the last post, like I'm a big complete failure. But I guess that's a process in life. I'm willing and ready for the Lord to do a work in my life through this, so I'm going to strive to continue this spiritual discipline challenge indefinitely.

Thank you so much to Rex for making us do this. I was totally psyched about it when I found out what our only assignment would be.

Lord, show me the strength you have already given me to continue this study for you! Give me wisdom to know how to plan for things and fix my mistakes.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spiritual Disciplines Part 3

Failure...Rex told us to expect it, but I didn't. I've had nothing but disappointment and disgust for myself and my apparent lack of discipline. I knew I was bad, didn't know how many excuses I could find to not do something that I should do.

Tuesday - Cara and I went on our date for coffee. I had been doing homework before we went and made the choice to not go over my notes before we left, assuming I would just remember. Mistake #1 We left and started our regular date conversation. I would record it, but they are held in confidence. As we talked, we jumped into a little bit of what we talked about in some classes or chapels the days before, but nothing was specifically planned. That night when I was lying in bed, I vaguely remembered that I didn't write an entry and I realized what I had done (or rather, hadn't done). I determined that I would just make do with what I had done and admit my failure before I rolled over into a sleep.

Wednesday - As I walked to class with my notebook in hand, I said I HAD to do better that day. I sat down in class and listened for something to catch my attention to write it down. Mistake #2 Very quickly I was doodling and struggling to pay attention. I gave up after the first class and said that I would just do better by looking through my notes again. But I didn't think of a time or a person. Mistake #3 It was a cloudy and rainy day, so I was VERY depressed and used that as an excuse to waste away my afternoon and evening trying to "cheer myself up." By the time I went with Anna over to the Potters I was pretty happy and didn't think about my discipline at all. We returned and I talked to Grace and a friend from back home, and certain parts of those conversations had undertones of class or chapel. Nothing was purposeful though.

Thursday - This morning I remembered everything that I was supposed to have done and didn't. I walked towards my computer to write a blog admitting my failure and pledging to do better today, but I was afraid to face my own failure. I walked out of my room for class this morning and tried not to give it a second (or third or fourth or fifth or...) thought. I was convicted so bad during class that I made last minute plans to do my homework away from the school so I wouldn't have to look at my computer. Amie and I went over to Conni's to do our homework and it got to be too much for me. I almost just spilled my guts about my failure all over Amie, but I wisely waited. Conversation started and it seemed to naturally lean towards classes (the direction of God is amazing!). No, I didn't plan for it, nor did I study for it, but I had a conversation about classes, how God's been working in my life, and teachers with Amie. It must have lasted close to an hour. I can't call this a success though. My goal was to make it a conscious effort. As we were talking I remembered there was something that Sullivan said that I wanted someones opinion on, but I didn't write it down. Mistake #4 I figured I'd just remember.

All in all the last three days have been terrible.
Mistake #1 - Assuming I would remember what I wanted to say about the notes without refreshing my memory.
Mistake #2 - Putting my full attention on looking for something that catches my attention instead of putting my looking towards the simple truths we are learning here.
Mistake #3 - Not planning to do it.
Mistake #4 - Not writing down a spoken word before it runs out of the memory.

Lord, help me as this weekend ensues to have the discipline to complete the task laid before me!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Spiritual Disciplines Part 2

About 2 weeks ago I was talking with Whitney Salisbury about something in class from the day before. I had also talked about that specific subject with a friend from home and I told her how it is so much more concreted in my mind since I've talked about it. I was finding myself applying what I'd learned that one day. We came to the conclusion that we both learn better if we teach it or at least talk to somebody about it. We discussed maybe making a point to talk to each other every day about what we'd learned in class, but between her busy schedule and just a lack of desire to display any discipline in my life we let it drop after that late night talk. It's been on my mind a lot since. I don't retain stuff when I just hear it, write it, or read it. I have to actually talk about it; one of the reasons why Chris Darland's method of verbally reviewing earlier lessons at the beginning of the class does so much for me. I think I've determined that part of my frustration is the planning to meet with the same person at a certain time; it's too scheduled for me. My solution is to plan to talk with someone for at least 15 minutes each day that I've heard or read or learned in my daily devotions, class, chapel or stirring conversation. When I wake up in the morning I'll look at my day and decide who and when, and then during class I will have a focus in my listening. I hope I'll be impacted in such a way this week that I'll find a way to make a permanent part of my spiritual life. I also hope that the Lord will show me clearly what spiritual discipline I should work on next for I hope to duplicate this later with other disciplines. It was a hard choice to just choose one.

It's my first day and I'm about to go through my notes and remember back to what struck me today. Lord, show me, bring to mind, those things you wish to impress on my heart or clarify to my mind. I am going to spend a couple hours with Conni and chose to take this opportunity as someone who has gone through these classes already.

I just jumped back in my room from being at Conni's house. That was such an encouraging conversation, even if I think maybe it was too easy to choose to have this first conversation with Conni. We had been planning this date night since last week, and I knew the type of questions and topics we'd be covering. I figured it would give me an easy first day that would help with me knowing how it is that I want to be thinking during classes tomorrow before my date tomorrow with Cara.

Before I went I walked over I went through my notes trying to remember all the things I thought during classes and throughout the day (note for tomorrow, carry around a notebook). I walked over to her house not sure what to expect. I went upstairs and we sat on the couch and we just started talking. She would ask a question and I'd give a super long answer then we'd make our way back to what we asked in the first place. Finally there was a lull in a REALLY good challenging conversation for me to pull out my notebook. I started by talking to her about feeling like the same things are being hammered over and over in theology and I feel like I get it already. She encouraged me to go talk to Rich Bruce about that tomorrow. Then I got to my exciting fun stuff that I wanted to share. Life of Christ today was amazing. The first hour was about the unpardonable sin, which has haunted my Bible studies since I first read that passage. Mike Sullivan explained it in a way that made so much sense. Then he brought up two sides to certain parts of it that are great food for thought. In the second hour of class he touched on the Parable of the Sower and the Soils and brought up a controversy that I didn't know even existed. Conni and I discussed that and where we stood on it. All of the class stuff has been twirling in my brain since I verbalized it with Conni, and she got me to think deeper into a verse on my homework that I've been having a problem with. All in all I feel like I set this day up so well that it couldn't help but be amazing. I'm scared that tomorrow might fade in expectation and by the end of the week I'll be talking just to talk. Lord, bring this conversation to mind as I go throughout my days!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Spiritual Disciplines Part 1

Starting tomorrow I will have 7 days of entries about my assignment for Spiritual Disciplines. I really don't have any clue what the Lord will be revealing to me, but I'm totally psyched! Pray as I embark on a 7-day journal that I'm sure will show my terrible need for our Lord!