New Year Resolution: Building spiritual discipline

The following is re-posted from an article I wrote for St. Greg’s College Ministry through Oasis Magazine.

The New Year brings us an opportunity to recharge and refresh but I feel like I’m spotty on my resolutions. Some years I crank them out, others, I consider them a waste of time. A few years ago I committed to hitting the gym and staying physically fit. Knowing that I didn’t want to be one of the many who get a gym membership and stop going in February, I made a long term plan to build the discipline to stay at it.

 When I started at the gym in January of that year the place was packed. Getting time to do a circuit was obnoxious. Someone would be on the bench for way too long or the cycles would all be taken up. Workouts would take a lot longer than I’d hope for. But I kept at it and sure enough, March came around and the place was empty. I knew at that time that I wasn’t one of the casualties of lost discipline to see it through. Victory. I stayed at it and found the benefits of making goals and actually doing it. Over time I found myself getting stronger.

 Time hurts though, life happens. There have been times I’ve been more motivated and less motivated. I’ve risen to the occasion to get in the best shape of my life for the Tough Mudder and got sleepy in my post-wedding delight. However, I’ve maintained the discipline and at times have had to check myself to get going. In many ways, prayer is the same.

I’ve found a connection between the discipline it takes for my physical fitness and my prayer fitness. It requires drive. It requires decision. It requires action. In the same way that we grow physically, we grow spiritually. The exercises are different but the discipline is the same. Goals, reps, and endurance. So as the New Year comes in, think about setting yourself a resolution to grow in prayer. There are many workout plans to get there but you have to decide to start… and then start… and keep going beyond March.