It’s only seven days into the new year and you’re probably already saturated with articles and news stories about New Year’s resolutions. To make matters more extreme, it’s not only a new year but it’s also a new decade. That means we aren’t just reflecting on one year. We’re reflecting on ten. The good news is, sometimes more reflection can inspire greater motivation and bigger goals. But, other times, it can leave you feeling overwhelmed or dissatisfied. For most people, it’s a mix of all these feelings.
The past few years have been a lot about feelings for me. In 2018, I lost both my mom and my father-in-law and shortly after, sent my second child off to college. In 2019, I spent a lot of time recovering from 2018. I focused on self-care and learning how to process those events and my feelings about them. It was a much-needed year of rest and reflection for me. However, I’m starting to see the need to shift my focus away from my feelings and focus more on my actions.
Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to stop being aware of my emotions and feelings about my life and the people and events within it. Not at all! One thing I’ve learned this past year is that it’s important to my mental and physical health to be more in touch with how I’m feeling and why. I need to stay connected to my feelings and I plan to continue down that road. However, I’ve also noticed that in my effort to give myself much-needed rest, I’ve lost some of the discipline that I once had. So, it’s time to start doing the things I know are best even when I’m not “feeling it.” It’s time to become more disciplined.
Of course, I plan on focusing some of that new discipline on my health choices like a lot of us this time of year; eating better, being more active, getting quality sleep. But I also plan on focusing my efforts to become more disciplined in my spiritual life as well. I want to become a disciplined disciple. I don’t just want to love God with my heart. I want to love Him with my soul and my strength as well. Sometimes that will mean using all of my strength to get myself out of bed early to pray or go to morning Mass.
It also means that sometimes I will need to pay a little less attention to how I’m feeling about praying and just pray. I’ll need to stop thinking about going to Adoration, and just go! I’ll need to find the balance between feeling my emotions and putting them aside sometimes to do what I need to do.
What about you? Are you like me and struggle to be disciplined in your spiritual life? Or could you give me lessons on how to be more disciplined? (Lessons are welcome, by the way.)
Copyright 2019 Laura Nelson