Spiritual Discipline: Self Denial (Part One)

For over a year I have been practicing prayer in 10 parts:

  • Spiritual Growth
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Work
  • Health
  • Vocation

  • Relationship

  • Finances/Prosperity
  • Character
  • “Elephants” – deepest dreams (see “Praying For Your Elephant” by Adam Stadtmiller)

Since the beginning, the three middle items (health, vocation, relationship) are where I have  “gone deeper”. The prayers I feel God has asked me to speak out in detail. Lately, God has prompted me to go a step further.  He desires me to take action.

HEALTH

The practice of self-denial/abstinence has been poking at me for the last couple of weeks.

I’m have poor self-control – this is indicative in many of the choices I have made throughout my life.

Perhaps mostly in food choices. To be honest  I am a lazy person.  I have almost always chosen the past of least resistance. What is easy. Not realizing that “easy” sometimes turns out to be harder in the long run.

So I am embarking on a season (lifestyle?) of self-denial. For the first time I am changing my diet to please God – not for weight loss or health purposes.  Although that outcome is also desirable, but it’s not the primary focus. Denying myself to increase my relationship with God through fasting from high processed foods, preparing nutritious food and making food prep and eating a spiritual meditation.

I expect to be tested. I expect that I will fail, sometimes. But I also expect that God will sustain me and lift me up to try again.

I believe in the power of movement.  The force of pushing your body further. I glimpsed a bit of this when I was walking so much several years ago. Now I want to transform it into a spiritual practice. It’s also a type of abstinence as I am denying myself laziness.

Beyond the acts of nutrition and exercise, I need to embrace trust.  To do what I can and leave the details up to God. I believe I can facilitate this with prayer and meditation.

Actions being taken in the discipline of self-denial:

  • Nutrition and food balance
  • Movement (exercise: strength, stretch or endurance)
  • Meditation (prayer, rest, trusting in God)
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