For a little context of what we are doing and why we are doing what we are doing, I offer this short definition of spiritual discipline. I like how philosophy professor at USC, Dallas Willard defines it. He says (paraphrasing) that a spiritual discipline is choosing to do something intentionally as a discipline that someone more mature would do naturally.
Mature people are not impatient when confronted with the slight inconveniences of life we face in the modern world. Should I want to become such a person, perhaps I could discipline myself, for a period of time, to stand in the longest line at the grocery store to give myself opportunity to practice the patients I desire to have.
There are many spiritual disciplines I participate in as I live the Twenty Pieces project, but one that I have noticed most clearly is this. I am, like many women, one who can live in continual critique of the way I look. I would respond to these inner critiques by changing my clothes, buying new clothes, and using mind energy to “check” myself to make sure I was okay.
I really hate this insecurity in me. It is dark and ugly and quite immature, but most of all it was only hurting me. A more mature and secure person puts on the clothes they have and likely doesn’t give it another thought. I would like to become such a person. I am happy to say that I have seen progress, but I certainly have not arrived (lucky me I have another 11 an 1/2 months to go).
While this training is important for the soul, it is not the whole picture either. Now that I am not appeasing these immature little parts of my heart with Anthropologie purchases, I must find other ways to tend to them. In the past I spoiled them by giving them what they wanted, catering to my spoiled inner child. But the spoiled inner child is misleading. It does not need what it thinks it needs and demands for so loudly. It needs actual love.
So, I am saying no to clothes so I can say yes to love. So what does it look like to love into silence those critiquing inner voices? I am still trying to figure that out.