I am a skill collector. What this means is that I am not extremely talented in any one major thing. Instead, I grab onto whatever skill has my attention for the moment and I give it 100% until I am satisfied, then, without even putting my mind to searching for a new skill, a new skill comes to me.
Decades ago I traveled through the Southwest. On my journey, I became enthralled with Native American looking dinner plates. They were way out of my budget. So what did I do? When I got back to the Midwest, I signed up for a pottery class and made my own. My plates were impressive, and if I would have had a better teacher, I am certain they would have been even better.
When I was in a rock group, I used to write lyrics and melodies and collaborate with my band. One drama with the band after another, I finally broke away from bands altogether and picked up a guitar and learned it for myself so I could compose songs on my own. Though I would much rather collaborate, it was just another skill I had collected. Over the years, I have become interested in all sorts of things like mineral collecting, sports, learning foreign languages, sailing, cooking, making ice cream. These are a few examples of my skill collecting.
I do not include writing amongst these skills, by the way. Writing is something I hope I do quiet well as I have put my mind to this task since I was aged ten. I have written all kinds of things, including music, and I hope I am above par. In fact, I used to be a professional music journalist in the Christian Music scene (this goes back to the days of hard copy, that’s how long ago it was!). My tasks at the time included interviewing artists, reviewing their performances and critiquing their recent releases.
When writing my own music, I put it through the same grinder and critique my material the same way I used to critique others. It is only fair. Not only that, but it helps to stretch my music above mediocrity.
One thing both skill collecting and writing share is the need for patience. In order to prove well at either of these you must possess it, as well as sheer determination, tenacity and resolve. I will add discipline to the list as well.
Spiritual disciplines are valuable in this life and also in the life to come.
Carrying these qualities, one can press forward and achieve satisfaction. Something quite amazing happens, too, when we are disciplined and learn the art of determination; these qualities carry over to our spiritual lives. Actually, for me, my spiritual disciplines that I put into practice years ago carried over to my practical life and I was able to sit down one day and determine to write a novel. This happened over 25 years ago. One book led to another.
Anyone who has learned a sport, a foreign language, a trade, an instrument will vouch for me.
Something extra special about spiritual disciplines, though, is that they are not only valuable for this life, but also for the life to come. So is wisdom. Wisdom and discernment are achieved by spiritual disciplines. To some churchgoers, spiritual disciplines might seem legalistic and those who employ them can be accused of having a religious spirit. But when we are free in Christ; we do not concern ourselves or get tangled in such affairs, they roll off us.
This is because through our spiritual disciplines, like studying the Bible, praying, fasting, memorizing God’s word, we are maturing daily. We are clothed in righteousness and have girded ourselves for battle, knowing that our adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Our confidence is not in the flesh or in our feelings, it is in the truth. We cling to it. And it is doubled-edged.
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…