“Discipline” is a word that we don’t use much at MCC Newcastle. Many of us are still trying to shed years of teaching that told us we were somehow not quite good enough for God and needed to try harder in order to be loved. However spiritual discipline is not about punishment or trying to earn God’s approval. It is about feeding our spiritual selves, so that we are able to cope better with life’s ups and downs. If we set regular time aside to be with God, however we do that best, we develop our “spiritual muscles”. Listening to music that is uplifting, taking time to notice the beauty of creation as we go for a walk, doodling our prayers, or praying for the people on the bus as we travel to work each day, are just some of the many ways we can “clear the decks” and let God into our lives. It won’t be the same for everyone, and over time, we might change the way that we create this space in our lives. The discipline comes in paying attention to what we need and making time to do it. There have been times in my life when I could not find the stillness that I need to feel connected with God. Life was too difficult or painful. However, I did not feel bad or guilty. God knew why I couldn’t be still and was there anyway. I also knew I had a reserve of spiritual strength to draw on because of years of attending to my spiritual self. All the lessons that I had learned about God’s grace and presence carried me through until I was able to rest in stillness again. May you be blessed on your Lenten journey.