Practices of Christian spirituality.

In reading Soul Feast and contemplating the practices of spirituality, our class was asked to think about spiritual patterns, specifically the pattern of sabbath. Back in my undergraduate studies, I read Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. Calhoun’s book and Thompson’s Soul Feast mirrored each other in promoting a Christian “rule of life.” Spiritual disciplines also remind me of last week’s conversation regarding rituals, as disciplines must be practiced in order to receive the maximum benefit. As I mentioned in my last post, I have started working out throughout the pandemic. I can receive some benefits from working out one time, but if I remain disciplined in the practice, I receive even more longstanding benefits. Physical disciplines show the most tangible examples of the importance of consistency, so working out has been a good reminder for me to remain disciplined in spirituality as well. Physical and spiritual disciplines combined, with something like yoga that combine intention with body movement, create wholeness in my life. I find that my mental, emotional, and physical states are more grounded and less easily ruffled when I create patterns of combined spiritual and physical disciplines.

One spiritual discipline that we discussed in class and read about is sabbath. As sabbath means “to cease,” I reflected on the lack of “ceasing” in my life. Last semester was the busiest time I have ever had in my life. I was taking 15 credit hours, I worked around 30 hours/week at the hospital, I had drill weekends because I am in the Georgia Army National Guard, and I was doing CPE. I had two “free” days per month, and I filled that time with visiting my partner who is in the Marines. I was solely surviving, NOT thriving. During that time, I would have laughed at the concept of sabbath because it felt unattainable and frivolous. However, this semester I am taking one less class and I dropped my internship. With a bit more free time, I have started taking at least half a day per week to recenter myself by doing something “fun” and life-giving. I find that if I take even a little time to rest, all of my other busier times comes from a place where I’m filled rather than expending from emptiness.

True sabbath and ceasing has become incredibly important for my sanity and spirituality.

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