By the Rev. Cara Scriven | Tacoma District Superintendent
[dropcap type=”1″]B[/dropcap]y the time I arrive home with my youngest girls each evening, everyone is hungry and the first thing the twins ask for is a snack. Often times, this declaration that they are starving begins as soon as their feet cross the threshold of our home. To the girls dismay, it is difficult to prepare them a snack before I have taken off my coat and put down my things. I frequently have to remind them to be patient. Yet, for two five year-olds, five minutes is a lifetime away.
Children are not the only ones for whom patience is difficult. Adults have an equally difficult time with this fruit of the Spirit. Impatience has grown as we have become accustomed to receiving whatever we desire instantaneously. For example, we get frustrated if a web page takes longer than 5 seconds to load or if we have to wait three weeks for the delivery of the newest iPhone. With music, information, and movies at our finger tips, television shows on demand, and Amazon Prime 2 day shipping; it is difficult for us to learn patience.
[pull_quote_right]Impatience is not only visible in our secular lives; it has also permeated our spiritual ones.[/pull_quote_right]Impatience is not only visible in our secular lives; it has also permeated our spiritual ones. Today, we expect that if we give one hour a week to God, whether in worship or small groups, we should experience a deep and meaningful spiritual life. However when we study the great saints of the Christian faith, we realize that it takes decades and hours of attention to gain the kind of spirituality many are seeking.
It is no surprise then that in our society which values quick responses, many of us give up searching for spiritual depth before we have even really begun.
In an article entitled “How 5 Minutes a Day Can Improve Your Health and Increase Your Lifespan“, Caroline Arnold reports that a recent study has shown that running just 5 minutes a day will increase a person’s life span as much as running 150 minutes a week. Another recent study revealed that if you eat 100 calories less a day in three years you will lose 10 pounds. With these micro-efforts, one can make significant changes in their health. I believe, that the same is true in our spiritual lives.
If we carved out 5 minutes every day for God, I believe that we would see significant changes in our lives. For example, if you practiced centering prayer each morning, you would find that you are more centered and calm throughout the day. There are many other spiritual disciplines you could practice in five minutes including, Scripture reading, journaling, intercessory prayer, devotions, and meditation. The spiritual discipline one chooses is not as important as the consistency in which it is done. Regularity pays it’s own unique dividends.
And the more you practice, the greater the benefit you will receive.
A deep spiritual life takes time and effort and cannot be gained in a short period of time. Yet, as the Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu said, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” May God grant you the courage to take the first step toward the spiritual depth you seek.