Do you ever find yourself looking for the ‘high,’ the next motivational piece, spiritual experience, athletic technique, gardening tip, automotive gear, nature experience, or cellphone case?
This week the Lebanon School District had their annual group meeting and it’s one of the only chances Superintendent Rob Hess has to talk to all the school district employees at once. Rob had invited me the last two years to come listen to him but I had been unable to make it. This year he invited all the pastors and I happened to be free. Over dinner the night before Kelli told me how it is the big pep talk for the year and leans heavy into motivational territory. In response I remarked that Dr. Hess should really listen to all the interviews football players give about the big, high energy, speech a coach gives before the game. In most of those interviews the players say that the speeches are a lot of fun but that the high normally wears off by the end of the opening kick-off. While I merely said that to make a point, Kelli asked, “So what do they do after that?” It’s a good a question and thinking back to all those NFL Films I realized I knew the answer, “Practice.”
Practice is one of those things that seems so stale and dry. Most of us don’t get that excited about the idea of practice. Sure we’d sign up for the next big thing, the thing that will bring us to a high, to a peak, but the long slow work of practice isn’t really what we want.
This is true in our spiritual lives as well and it’s a temptation I face as a pastor to both provide and seek for myself. But as we all know, the high wears off, and we go back to daily life. But what if we reverse the trend? What if take the time to learn our scales by reading the bible, praying, fasting, and seeking connection with other and Jesus. What if we bring ourselves daily to the things that slowly shape us and make it possible for us to still have the highs, but that see daily life, the going to work, the taking care of the kids, the regular Sunday, and the regular rituals of life, as where things really happen? It’s a challenge to get out of the motivational mindset, and it certainly is needed at times, but if we open ourselves up to the practices and the disciplines that can shape us daily, we give God more opportunity to enter into our days. And it is in our daily life that is the place where God is going to come up to us, to call us to die to ourselves, and follow him.