Spiritual disciplines, also called practices, are ways of intentionally building your relationship with God. Some disciplines are more concrete and knowledge-based, while others are more abstract and experiential. Both types are needed to learn to bring the daily stuff of life into a conversation with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
As you engage these various disciplines, you will notice that some seem natural and easy to practice. We call these downstream practices because they do not require tremendous effort to engage. Other practices feel much more difficult to engage. We call these upstream practices, because when engaging them, it can feel as if you are swimming upstream. One person may experience a practice as “upstream” while another may experience the same practice as “downstream.” Extroverts love to celebrate and often avoid silence and solitude while introverts do the opposite. While your downstream practices are good and helpful, it is important that you engage upstream practices as well, as these are the areas that need growth.
Finally, it is important to remember that all of us go through different seasons of life: from seasons of ease to seasons of great trouble and stress. Different times in life require different practices. For this reason, we encourage you to stay in conversation with God and others about which practices are helpful in your current season. If would like to talk to someone about this, contact one of the pastoral staff or one of the spiritual directors listed below. We hope and pray that as you engage in these practices over a long period of time, you, and those around you, will benefit from the deepening of your relationship with God, yourself, and others.
Check out our own Chapel Soul Care for a combination of spiritual direction and Biblically-based counseling on our own campus. For more specific spiritual direction, check out Valley Spiritual Direction. Spiritual direction is “help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” – William Barry and William Connolly
SITTING ON THE DOCK WITH JESUS
A practice to know God and his ways as revealed to us in the Bible
A practice that moves the stories of scripture from your head to your heart
A practice that allows God’s word to transform both your mind and your heart.
A practice used to invite God into the unsettling physical and emotional reactions to the events and situations of daily life
EXPERIENCING GOD’S LOVE
A practice to receive God’s love
A practice to help you move from a self-focused life to an others-focused life as you practically extend God’s welcome to others
A practice to free you from compulsion and instant gratification and turn your attention towards God and his Kingdom
A practice to help you grow as a generous steward of God’s resources and free you from the love or control of money
A TALK WITH JESUS
A practice to help build a conversational relationship with Jesus
SITTING WITH THE TRINITY
An exercise to help us experience belonging in the Trinity
A practice of communicating and being present with God
A practice that minimizes distractions and maximizes a single-minded focus on the kingdom of God
A practice that allows space for God’s Spirit to bring joy and joy makes us strong.
A practice that develops humility and frees us from the tendency to think we are better or more deserving than others
SILENCE AND SOLITUDE
A practice that allows space for God’s spirit to surface and speak to our deepest desires and longings.