It’s the month of buckling down. Noses to the grindstone, shoulders to the wheel, hands to the plow, and all that. That passing madness that was summer will fade from memory in a blur of homework, late lawn-mowing, early raking, and all sorts of responsible things. It’s also a time of new beginnings: not only does school start, but September 16th is the most common birthday in America.
If summer is a time when we get outside and feel the presence of God on a lake or a trail, then fall is the time for seeing how to bring that experience into our ordinary lives. How can we import wonder into our everyday world? How can we bring spiritual refreshment into the stale routine? Clearly lots of spiritual self-help writers have had their own noses to the grindstone, for there are plenty of books out there on everyday spiritual practices.
New practices are great, but I want to caution you against simply adding spiritual practices to your daily to-do list. You need to make room for it first, which probably means letting something else go. And since you are a hands-to-the-plow sort of person, you have a hard time doing that. In fact, you’re so busy that we’re not sure where you found the time to read this far!
So for all you September people, with your shoulders hard against the wheel, the first spiritual discipline I want to suggest is this: quit something. Believe it or not, someone else can handle it. Discover that you are not indispensable. And the second discipline is this: don’t fill up that tiny space in your life with something else–not TV, not games, not socializing: nothing. And then slow down just a bit. Now, if you still need to create time for the important things (prayer, exercise, eating right, for instance), go crazy and quit something else. Don’t feel bad about it. You can tell your friends that this is a spiritual discipline. They’ll get jealous, and wonder where you got the time for something they desperately want. Time with God.