In his Introduction to Strength for the Journey: A Guide to Spiritual Practice, the Rev. Brian C. Taylor writes, “Practices, or ‘spiritual disciplines,’ are the things we do intentionally that strengthen and enliven our relationship with God, others, the world, and the self. Spiritual practices are the things we do that, together with God’s grace, produce the fruit of redemption.”
Whatever the component area—financial, physical, psychological, vocational or spiritual health—practice can mean the difference between objective and outcome. The next step after discerning “Who is God calling me to be?” focuses on “How am I responding?” Practice is what we do, purposefully and with presence, to live into our call.
The Value of Practice
Practice is a trendy term, an athletic term, a musical term, a spiritual term. But at its heart, practice is the activity that gets us closer to achieving whatever it is that has claimed our enthusiasm and passion.
Unfortunately, practice often feels like one more unpleasant task to add to our to-do list. We often yearn for completion without the annoyance of practice. Yet practice is living into passion—the process of experiencing passion as it, and we, unfold. Without ongoing practice we miss the journey, the growth, the vision, the evolution of ourselves as we move toward the end for which we are practicing. For us, practice is the adventurous road on which we travel toward our passion.
As the adage goes, it’s not the exercise that is difficult. What’s difficult is putting on our sneakers. We may have every intention of losing weight, making a budget, saving for retirement, or sticking to a plan for healthier eating, but first we have to practice. We must “get off the couch” and “put on our sneakers.”
One of the great gifts of CREDO is the ongoing practice of wellness in all its facets throughout the conference. Time is set aside for practice, new practices are experienced, and boundaries are set so that practice fits into the course of the day. When we return home to the context of our daily lives, those boundaries are blurred, and setting aside time for practice becomes more difficult. Our practice routine can feel spotty and haphazard, even though our longing for the end goal may still be strong. But perfection in practice is not the goal; rather strive to remember the longing and affirm that every moment set aside for practice is another step on the journey toward the realization of your goal.
When you become discouraged and disheartened, simply take a step—albeit a small one—to start yourself forward again.
Resources from the CREDO Library
All Shall Be Well: An Approach to Wellness
William S. Craddock, Jr., Editor (Morehouse Publishing, 2009)
In two-dozen personal reflections exploring the hallmark CREDO cycle — Identity, Discernment, Practice, and Transformation— CREDO conference faculty members and researchers present an approach to wellness and vocational and personal transformation that has affected and changed the lives of thousands.
Strength for the Journey: A Guide to Spiritual Practice
Written by the Rev. Renée Miller, Strength for the Journey: A Guide to Spiritual Practice is a collection of thoughtful reflections accented with stirring color photographs that is aimed at evoking mindfulness in the common activities of life, from music and movie going to reading, writing, and walking.
Wellness Begins With A Walk
The following essay is excerpted from All Shall Be Well: An Approach to Wellness, from Church Publishing Incorporated. The writer, William J. Watson, is a priest, physician and CREDO faculty member.
Unless otherwise noted, websites referenced herein that are outside the www.cpg.org domain are not associated with The Church Pension Fund and its affiliates (collectively, the Church Pension Group) and the Church Pension Group is not responsible for the content of any such websites.