arrange your life

This morning, it was dark when I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door. Back-to-school for the kiddos means back to running in the dark of the early mornings for me. That way I can be back home and showered in time for the school run.


I know I’m not the only one who arranges my life to make it possible to pursue my fitness goals. Indeed, without a plan it’s highly unlikely I’d be ready for that 10km event, or half marathon, or whatever happens to be next on the calendar. Fitness doesn’t happen by accident, or by doing what I feel like in the moment if it happens to fit in to the rest of life.


What is true of physical training is true of spiritual formation. When we leave things to chance, or we’re not really intentional, we simply don’t see the changes we long for. You want to be more patient in your closest relationships? You want to grow in generosity, or joy, or wisdom? It’s going to take some deliberate effort, some intentional training, to see those changes in your life.


Dallas Willard, guru of Christian formation, instructed his readers to “Arrange your life so that you are experiencing deep contentment, joy and confidence in your everyday life with God” (from Living in Christ’s Presence). I am struck by that phrase: arrange your life. It tells me that I get to organise my life around those things that I truly value. I get to make choices that reflect what I want to be true about my life. That idea that I have in my head about what makes a ‘good life?’ I have permission to arrange my life so that I am living that good life.


I realised recently that I desperately need to make silence part of my daily rhythm. In the whirlwind of noise, distractions and virtual connectedness, I recognised a desire to experience a depth of calm that doesn’t come naturally to me. I’d heard that the practice of silence can bring about the kind of stillness I was craving, but you’d be amazed how hard it is to keep silence for just 10 minutes every day! It’s incredibly easy to find a million other things that need doing, rather than sit my butt down on a chair and shut the hell up. But choosing to do it meets a need in my soul that makes me wonder why so few of us have caught onto this secret.


It’s not always easy, let’s face it. As boring as it seems to get myself to bed at 10.30pm, if I go to bed any later I find it hard to get up at 6am to read, journal and go for a run. I have to remind myself that I get to choose to have time to reflect and exercise, or not. I get to create the life I want and the person I become. I am not a victim of the other demands on my time. So when I wish that I could just watch another hour of evening Netflix and not set the alarm for the morning, I want to remember the rest of what Dallas Willard said: “Arrange your life so that you are experiencing deep contentment, joy and confidence in your everyday life with God.”

Reflect

What brings you deep contentment, joy and confidence on an ordinary, everyday basis? Along with your scheduled workouts or running goals, how are you organising your life so that you have more of that?


PRAY

Spirit of God, empower us to be intentional about the way we live our lives. May our deliberate choices train us in a way of life that reflects your goodness and wholeness.