Sunday, May 16

Report: Two Years of Spending the Day with Jesus

About 13 months ago, I posted after a year of practicing (to some degree) Spending the Day with Jesus as described by Dallas Willard in Life without Lack. This is a post after practicing Spending the Day with Jesus for over two years.

Refer to my previous post if you're interested in my basic approach. It has stayed pretty much the same. It is probably past time to make some intelligent changes.

I have missed some check ins over the last 2+ years, but almost never more than one a day when I'm home (which is almost all the time). I used to travel some for work and sometimes only checked in once at the start of the day.

I think overall this practice has been good. To adapt something Dallas said elsewhere 'You're going to spend two years anyway.' The point was: why not work on developing discipline? I think the discipline of Spending the Day with Jesus especially helped me to get through a tough month of work with some 70-hour weeks and high stress. (Not that I kept up all of my check ins during that time.)

One of my favorite parts of my practice has been adopting a Psalm of the Day. I posted about that previously, too.

Disappointment and Underachievement

I have sometimes thought of calling this section 'Disappointment with Dallas', but it seems a little too sensationalist, and I'm not really disappointed with Dallas, of course. But let me tell you what I mean: Dallas makes unequivocal statements in Life without Lack and elsewhere about what kinds of general results we can expect to get. Here are the main ones from chapter 8 of LwL:

  • 'If you approach the evening in this way, you will awaken with great anticipation of your day with Jesus.' (p200)
  • 'Invite him to be a part of your work and interactions with others. I guarantee that as you do, you and those around you will notice differences of a very positive nature.' (p208)
  • 'I assure you that not many days will pass before you begin to understand the sweetness of walking with Jesus in the sufficiency of the Good Shepherd.' (p211)
  • 'As you practice living your days in the sufficiency of the Good Shepherd, you will make tremendous progress in experiencing the Psalm 23 life that Christ came to provide. You will see remarkable growth and all the good things Jesus desires to give us.' (p213)
I have mostly not seen those results. I've seen small personal results. For one thing, my wife commented on my ability to make it through that hard time at work. I asked my son to review this post and he said he feels like he has seen some growth including more patience including with him.

What do I conclude? First of all, I sure don't think it's been a waste of time.

Second, I suppose I haven't practiced intelligently and intentionally enough. Dallas talks about adjusting our disciplines based on results. I guess I haven't done enough of that. I conclude he was a lot more rigorous in his practice of disciplines, including his concentration. In this time of social media and buzzing phones, I often allow myself to be distracted. My office does not have a door and is adjacent to our entry and main hallway. Not that I plan to go into my bedroom and shut my door immediately. For one thing, it's a shared space with my wife. ;-) But this is something for me to think about some more.

The area I'm currently focusing on for growth (in combination with Spending the Day with Jesus) is a conversational relationship with God as Dallas describes in the Hearing God book and retreat videos on YouTube. I have seen some good results from reading George Muller's abridged journal and letting it inspire my practice. I also re-read Brother Lawrence's Practice of the Presence of God on this topic. I continue to work at learning to pray at 'each change of person or event' (LwL p208).