The Lord has been so good to me this year, despite my good/tough circumstances…
- He carried me though Junior year; a very discouraging year (relationally and academically)
- I was blessed with making new and strong friendships
- I finished my core classes, the hardest of them now over.
- I was blessed to have a great discipler who was consistent in challenging, growing me, and encouraged me
- I learned what it meant to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom 12:15)
- I came home and found out that my GRE scores were solid (making grad school a little less daunting!)
- While doing OT grad school research, I’ve found that I’ll be a competitive applicant.
- My family has been incredibly blessed and has been guided and nurtured by the Lord.
- My sister is graduating high school and going to VCU Arts
- And most recently… I GOT ENGAGED.
- This one deserved a sub-bullet because it’s so recent: I am so excited! I felt a little bit ambushed at first because I was clearly the last to know of this before it actually went down. But now oh so thankful to have been surprised and excited. It’s been a blessing to be able to walk alongside someone for so long. We’ve been blessed to be able to see one another grow and mature in more ways than one. Lots of prayer and preparation here. God has been so faithful and so generous; even as the initial wedding planning process begins.
And in all of this, it’s been hard for me to stay spiritually disciplined. The hard time of ‘walking beside a close friend in pain’ and then the excitement of ‘being engaged to the man you love’ are two very different emotional states.
I am lucky enough to spend a total of 2 weeks by the ocean this summer. As every girl does at the beach…. I picked a book to delve into and apply. In view of this past year, I chose Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S. Whitney. Lets just say I’m learning and being challenged quite a bit.
The purpose of spiritual disciplines is to become more like Christ (1 Tim 4:7). God is holy, and we are called to holiness (in fact, were commanded to in 1 Peter 1:15-16). Being spiritually disciplined ensures that we are growing to be more and more like Christ.
In reality, being spiritually disciplined is difficult. The greek word for discipline is gymnasia which means “to exercise” aka entailing sweat and effort. The desire of being spiritually disciplined is something the Holy Spirit gives and by the grace of God we can have that desire. However, that doesn’t give the Holy Spirit all the blame for not being disciplined. There is indeed a good amount of effort on our behalf. A great example of this “exercise and effort” that the book used was Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10…
Zacchaeus knew he was short, and he wanted to be able to see Jesus in the crowds. So to ensure that he’d be in Jesus’ presence, he ran and put “exercise and effort” into climbing the tree. By climbing the tree, Zacchaeus ensured that he’d be in Jesus’ presence. Jesus saw him, and called him by name.
Spiritual disciplines are a way that we intentionally place ourselves in the path of God to see his glory and grace.
Neglecting to exercise spiritual disciplines can be dangerous and hurtful. Without discipline, there will be no visible fruits in your life. If an athlete is disciplined in his training, he will run faster and his friends will see the metals hanging around his neck from all of his wins. The same applies to being spiritually disciplined. However, if we do not stay disciplined, our lives will not make much of a difference for the kingdom. Nobody will see fruits in our lives.
Living in these disciplines by making “exercise and effort” will allow us to see more of Him and His glory and greatness; not to mention it will also create bountiful fruits in our lives.
Join me this summer in disciplining yourself spiritually.
Lord you are holy. You have called me to holiness. Please give me a desire to pursue holiness. Give me the discipline to walk with you faithfully.
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Hello! My name it’s Victoria Taylor and I wrote the blog above while I sat here on the beach! This week I’m enjoying some rest and relaxation! It’s been a crazy month of May. I attend Christopher Newport University and plan on graduating in the spring in Psychology, minoring in Biology and Leadership. This summer, I am preparing to marry my (now recent) fiancé, working, and applying to Occupational Therapy graduate schools. I love being outside. I enjoy hiking. I am a coffee addict. I absolutely love my border collie boys (featured in photo). I love Jesus and am amazed by the way He loves. This semester I learned a lot about grace, and now I’m learning about spiritual disciplines and some theology. Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and getting to know me!