The Sacred is all around us

I have been rereading a book about running as meditation and prayer (running the spiritual path by Roger Joslin) because it teaches me something new every time I read it and because as long as I continue running I want to continue handing over the effort to God. 

One element that really struck me this time around is the need for gentleness with ourselves as we try new practices. I am a bit of a bull at times, I don’t—as they say—let grass grow under my feet. I get an idea or hear of something to try and if it appeals to me away I go. But not everyone can approach life like this, many simply can’t, others don’t want to, and I need to be good about recognizing that not everyone is into stopping things cold turkey. Joslin writes, “Rather than forcing yet another activity into a busy existence allow the practice too slowly become a part of the rhythm of your life.” That sounds like a helpful approach for many people regarding spiritual disciplines (and running for that matter). Using force is really only for opening pickle jars not for jarring rhythms that are unsustainable.

If a discipline appeals to us that likely means it is worth our giving it a try but that does not mean jumping to the advanced level. For example, two 5 minute meditations that get done every day are light years better than one 30 minute meditation a day that is often missed. Fasting one day a month is better than never fasting at all. Inviting one person or household over for a meal is way better than being so intimidated by the prospect of inviting 20 people over for a perfect meal that we never invite anyone over.

What I have found is that pursuing these sorts of disciplines helps me notice my days more, notice the Divine at work in them, to be more present. Alistair McIntire wrote, “the task of religion is to enable us to see the secular as sacred” which is an idea I agree with and the way forward in this—again in my experience—is to notice which spiritual practices call out to us and to practice them.

Practice is a good word. One practices bowling a long time before they can ever aspire to rolling 300. On practices knitting before one attempts the big sweater, one practices writing before writing the great novel. Practice involves many smaller steps, focusing on one element or another and then eventually trying to put them all together for a magical moment. If we can learn to live lives of intentionality, and especially intentionality towards God, then we will come to see that sister Joan Chittister is correct when she writes, “Daily life is the stuff of which high sanctity can be made.”

The sharing of a muffin or Halloween candy can be a sort of communion. The walking with someone who just needs a friend can become a pilgrimage. The shower or rain can be a sort of baptism. I can’t speak for you, but for me I can say that I want to live a life imbued with the holy, the divine image in me calls for this, and I think the Creator calls us to themselves and rewards us with awareness when we heed the call. 

If you don’t know yet which path might be helpful to you I would suggest you pray about it and whatever percolates into your mind is an answer worthy of attention. If already know and just don’t do it remember the marathon starts with a step, so go ahead and take that step (or sit down on the meditation pillow, or invite that friend over…)

January isn’t Sacred

Many people pick up new habits, or intend to, in January. New Years resolutions and all that. For me, this sometimes works. Even so, as the calendar rolls over to September and the autumn is upon us it seems as good a time as any to re-commit to a practice we may have dropped. Maybe it is because after years (and years) of schooling my mind still associates the fall with picking things up and learning new things, but I still find the urge to get going strong when the season shifts and the sweaters come back out. 

Autumn is a time of cool mornings, darker evenings, coffees, sweaters, and comfy clothes. It is a great time to pick up the bible and read any book in it. Maybe pick up a commentary about a book to read alongside it, something like The New Testament for Everyone by NT Wright which you can buy a single book from and enjoy stories and explanations as you read the bible. 

Many will buy journals and write in the calm mornings, no sweating, just mist over the cup of coffee or tea as the Spirit flows through you and the pen onto the paper. Write about life, about questions, thoughts about God, prayers that burden you or hopes and dreams that come alive in the fall. When you are simply writing for yourself and for God there is no wrong way to do it nor wrong topic, so long as it is authentic, so long as it is what needs to get out. 

Maybe you started 2021 with goals that you aren’t going to achieve, that’s ok. September is time to reevaluate, figure out what is still manageable, and get to it. You can start going for walks, saving money, checking off books of the bible, praying for neighbours, volunteering somewhere (with covid more and more on the ropes opportunities to get out and help are growing:), sign up for a class (pottery, meditation, swimming lessons???). 

Lean in to the autumn, if in no other way then by appreciating the beauty of the the natural world is about to do, God’s artistry on display. 

Forget Perfect. Embrace Your Path.

I recently read of an academic study where people were offered one pair of socks from among seven pairs. Once they made their selection they were asked to explain/defend their choice. People spoke of colours, designs, textures, and other elements of sockness that drove their selection. The interesting component is that the 7 pairs were all the same and most people didn’t even know it; and in their minds they concocted stories to justify making a selection.

We all must make up stories, or reasons/justifications, for the actions we take (and those we don’t take but feel guilty about). There is something deep in us that resents the very concept of doing something “just because.” 

I wonder what your reason for investigating spiritual practices might be? 

What story are you telling yourself and how does it impact your walk of faith?

Do you have spiritual goals? What happens if you accomplish them? What happens if you don’t?

My congregation recently studied walking as a spiritual practice and someone shared a copy of the movie called The Way, it’sabout some folks walking the Compostela pilgrimage. They are all walking, ostensibly for one reason (though their reasons vary), by the end they are comfortable admitting the new or real reason (to them themselves and to others), or reason that was revealed along the way, for their walks is something different than they thought. They were explaining the walk to themselves in order to justify it, but at root they were walking for other reasons that needed working out, and the working out required walking, they knew this intuitively.

As you walk your spiritual journey, reading blogs, and hopefully trying out practices and paying attention for God being at work in the world, I hope and pray that God will surprise you with unforeseen outcomes as you walk your path. No matter why you think you have set out, I pray God meets you along the way and surprises you with wonderful insights and truths about Himself and about you, the sorts of revelations that we know intuitively are divine in nature. Often when the reason changes it isn’t as arbitrary as how those folks chose socks but rather is a sign of the Holy Spirit working in you moving you mind to where it needs to focus. 

Don’t feel pressured by your goals, intentions, holy desires, or by others who want to see you grow and flourish spiritually. One ingredient of the path that we can all be sure of is imperfection. Most of us grew up with parents, teachers, siblings, and friends who expected us to try hard and lean towards accomplishment and perfection. We have been trained to seek out the “right” way to do a thing and then to “do it properly.” One of the hardest parts of the spiritual practices is that there is no such thing as a universal perfect. Just as there is no one correct reason to walk the Compostela trail there is no one spiritual discipline nor one way to do even the ones we do agree on. There is no one way to pray, meditate, read the bible, journal, share a table, make love, or anything else. No one wins at these; we all just walk along the path before us. Some go further or faster, some paths are narrow others seem more wide. 

My point is we must drop the habit of seeking perfection, Jesus was perfect, we are not. Jesus prayed perfectly connected to God, we are more like the disciples who kept falling asleep.  

I invite you to ponder who you are trying to impress or please with your spiritual journey and why. We remain humble and open, we learn and we reflect. It is neither good nor bad but it is calling us to our path. Wobbly and imperfect with unpredictable stops along the way. 

So, forget perfect and embrace your path. 

Take a moment to consider your why, be honest, open, and courageous as you do. 

The Lazy Runner (or the journey is the point)

One of the elements of life that running has taught me is patience. I am not a fast runner, nor a terribly good runner by any metric, the best I can say about myself is that I am consistent—that is to say I plod along diligently putting in the time. Partly this is because I am not one to needlessly hurt, I know there is more than enough pain in the world, and life is hard enough as it is, and sometimes getting out the door for a run is a drag and so I do not feel compelled to run until my lungs burn or my legs are shaky and even the slightest hill or upward step is a pain. I just sort of plod along making sure my heart rate is up and that I spend enough time in a given week or month doing so, I am not racing anyone, not even myself—as the apostle Paul might say. 

I am what you might call a lazy runner, insofar as such a being exists. 

The result of this is that I do not enjoy a lot of progress, my distances for individual runs are not growing and my speeds are holding fairly steady, maybe my heart rate is dropping a bit. My running is exceptional only to the non-runner:) 

The main result is that the results don’t matter, the journey, or the process itself, does. Of course, I get to enjoy a certain fitness level by virtue of the miles I log, and get to eat a bit more food than I otherwise could without adding pounds that I would have to carry with me everywhere I go, but really it is the logging of them there kilometres that is the point. 

In the process I have had many experiences. I have had deep spiritual moments running, I have been so in tune with my breath at times I think I am on to something special, other times my mind is utterly blank as I run and I couldn’t tell you what I “thought about while running” even if you offered me a lifetime supply of Eliud Kipchoge’s running shoes. I have had deep and vulnerable conversations with friends, God, and even myself, opening up and admitting things I normally would not.  Sometimes I have worked out hard relationships, untied knotty scenarios of life or work by ruminating as I jog. Sometimes I just enjoy the sights smells and sounds around me, I am particularly fond of seeing the sun rise and the landscape wake up—so to speak. Often I have seen owls, elk, deer, peacocks, turkeys, raccoons, eagles, fish, etc. 

I share this because one of the things I have heard and noticed is that many people seem to have a vision for the end of a journey, what it will be like when they retire, or when their kids leave the house and go to university (multiple assumptions in that one:) or how fit/fast they will be and how far they will go (hello marathon) if they get running. The gap between where they are and their vision of where they want to be is too wide and the progress towards it, whether they work super duper hard and burn their lungs or take a slower more sustainable approach working at it bit by bit day by day, progress can be too slow, and we give up. 

The gap is a real hurdle in health, it is also a real hurdle in faith. Sometimes we see others who appear so holy, faithful, prayerful, knowledgeable in scripture, that we are intimidated, will we ever get there? And if not, why bother at all? I know we think this because I often meet people who I sense are far more holy, in whom God is clearly working ad they can (at no fault of their own) make me want to give up any pretence of being holy. 

Mary, Oliver, and Thomas at Vancouver Marathon kids event, we all start where we start.

The theological answer is that Jesus and the work of the Holy Spirit make us holy. The pragmatic answer is that we each have our own path to walk. We have unique journeys that have brought us to where we are in faith (and health) and likewise we have unique routes to take going forward. Whatever you choose to do you are on a path, there is really no standing still. It is more a question of which direction you are heading. 

My suggestion is to not get caught in the gap between where you are and where you wish you were or where you want to be. Who are you today and who do you want to be? Want to be a runner? Go for a run, it is truly that simple. Want to be a prayer warrior? Say a prayer.  You get the idea. 

If you start, please remember that the journey itself is a huge part of the point. In other words, be patient with yourselves and your progress, we too often overestimate what we can do in a day or 6 months and radically underestimate what we can do in 5 years (if we get started that is). 

A Brief word on Rest and Recalibration

This post is going up a day late (as if anyone would notice that:) because I have been busily preparing for some time away. One of the most important lessons I have learned about taking a weekly sabbath and also working an annual rhythm that includes deep restful periods is that preparation is critical, neither of these restorative times will come at random or without intention. If one wishes to find time to pause one just prepare for such time. 

My dad used to manage banks. You know, the places people used to go to in order to perform monetary transactions, before ATMs and phones, and whatnot made the bank a place few of us ever step in. Even so, banks are big, they have huge assets, incredible numbers of employees and generally speaking a lot going on. My dad used to tell me he found it funny whenever someone would look sheepish about quitting. People would leave the bank and he would have to convince them it was okay. He would remind them the bank existed long before that particularly employee arrived and would continue to exist into the future (I am sure he said it nicely). That might sound cold but it is actually liberating. There is very little any of us do that no one else can do. While there is much advice to be offered about finding what only you can do and sticking to it and using that to clear your schedule and such, that is not where I am going with this. 

I am about to take some time off with the family so I am thinking about rest, sabbath, and refreshment. Like every year as I leave there are matters left dangling, jobs undone, projects halted mid-stream. I don’t like this, I grew up in schools with semesters and everything being wrapped up, as in there was literally nothing to be worked on while I was enjoying Christmas holidays, or summer holidays. Still, I am getting used to it, this adult version of time off. It’s an important humbling practice to step away and know that the church and other major non-familial commitments in my life have been a round a long before I arrived and will be there a long while after I go. Taking time off has a way of putting work into perspective, and putting my own value into perspective as well. 

Dorothy Bass puts it this way, “To act as if the world cannot get along without our work for one day in seven is a startling display of pride that denies the sufficiency of our generous Maker.” To take time away, then, is an act of trust. Trust of the employees and volunteers who will keep things going, and trust in God that He will continue with His oversight and provision. 

The weekly sabbath, and for those of us blessed enough to enjoy them, the longer breaks, are not merely about freezies, boat rides, beers by the lake, or whatever you do with your time off (some people apparently like to ruin perfectly good walk by golfing!) but they are about properly calibrating our lives, our place in the cosmos, bringing us to humility and gratitude towards God. Whether you take a longer or shorter break, I would invite you to spend a bit of time each day reflecting on the ways God is blessing you and the places you spend your time. 

Enjoy the Summer!

Eating With Others

When my wife and I first bought a condo we also bought a bespoke reclaimed barn wood diner table. It is the sort of solid looking table that you can dance on top of, or that if men wrestled near, could hold their weight. It looked funny in our “stylish” condo, but it spoke to a core value of ours, eating together. The table, for us has always been central. Even as university students we made our meals and sat at the table, rare was the night eating on the couch or alone.

We both grew up eating with other people. My folks fostered kids and had a pile of their own and so as a little child I would guess I rarely ate alone. It is a funny thing this eating together, growing up I literally never thought about it, it was just taken for granted that we would eat together. This required systems, it wasn’t all Norman Rockwell stuff. We had a chair that if you sat in it you were the one to get another bag of milk if we ran out while eating, and another chair that you would have to go downstairs to our second fridge to get more milk if there was none in the upstairs fridge scouted out by the first chair. As myone-day-to-be-wife found out, even if you were a guest your chair dictated this role…I think you can get the picture. 

Argue as we might we sat down together every day. 

At a table. 

And talked. 

I know not everyone does it and I know you do not need one more thing to do and yet I want to make a small pitch for eating with other people, and yes even if you live alone there are options (at least in non-covid times) for regular meals with others. 

The first subtle benefit of eating with other people is learning patience and self-control. We have had to teach our children to wait for everyone to get to the table before they can eat (we also say grace which creates further delay because we are Christians). This teaches our child the art of slowing down, controlling their little bodies even when hungry, respecting others through their actions, to say nothing of learning manners. Waiting for others in an act of love. 

The Apostle Paul gets mad when he learns that some churches eat in something akin to shifts (and some shifts got short thrift on provisions), where is the love in that? We are to honour each other by waiting for each other and then sharing what we have. 

When we eat with others we show them our love for them.

Fun at the table, we can clean the messes up later

When we eat with others we also love ourselves because we are not meant to be alone and food is better when it is communal.

Food tastes better with others, I am not sure why but it’s true. Whose all time favourite meals were eaten alone???

It is easier to be grateful for the food and for life when we eat with others because we are eating better and there is someone to share our sense of gratitude with.

Paying attention to the moment we are in is easier when we eat with others because we can be present, drawn into the moment at least in part because (if we are doing it “right”) there will be no screens vying for our attention pulling us away from conversation and food.

Paying attention to what we put in our bodies might also be easier when we eat with others, a positive peer pressure. I ate way more vegetables in my life thanks to my wife, maybe that’s just me.

Conversations and connections happen as we eat together, and yes, fights happen as we eat together. In this, we get to know each other better and clarify our own thoughts as well. 

Real life happens as we eat together, spills that need cleaning up, dishes that need cleaning, problems that need solving, tears that need shedding, stories that need telling, plans that need making.

The image of a group meal, perhaps in a special location, pulls at our souls, like holiday meals, weddings, and even the food after a memorial service as we gather to remember. 

I believe the table is important and it is a spiritual practice in the best souls satisfying sense because there is a table we are meant to share with others, the wedding feast of heaven, and our souls respond to anything resembling that meal. So, if you haven’t made a habit of eating with others maybe set a single meal as the goal, Sunday dinner, Monday breakfast, whatever might work, and see how it goes. 

The Practice isn’t a Virtue

One of the least appreciated element of pro sports is the role of practice and the difference between practice and game time. Many football place kickers can hit field goal after field goal from long ranges in practice and yet they sometimes miss the lowly point after attempt. NBA players can baffle us with their ability to miss a free throw in an important game, or a golfer misses an “easy” putt. Practice is important but it isn’t a virtue in itself, it is a preparation. 

In the spiritual life, it is easy to confuse a healthy practice with a virtue. It happens all the time. Some of us even slide straight into pride and think ourselves better than others because we reach for kale rather than chips or meditate rather than scroll Facebook, as though such matters might prove a moral superiority. We have all met people who makes us feel less-than because of how righteous they are about how they live their lives. 

One obvious issue with this is that many “disciplined” folks are just doing something that mostly comes naturally. For instance, I have been a reader since a very young age, always with a book in my hands. My wife used to leave the house and laugh 8 hours later when she could tell I had barely moved all day as I read. Given that, I can hardly boast, that I am one who reads the bible every year. This may make me more biblically literate than some, but it does not in and of itself make me “better” than others. I am a reader, I am one among many. I am not a faster.

The mistake is in thinking a practice is a virtue. 

It could be said that the biblical pharisees were guilty of such thinking and haughtiness, boldly equating practices (largely following rules they themselves had set up) with righteousness. And Jesus had little time for them. 

As someone who reads this blog (even if for the first time) you are likely at least somewhat interested in the spiritual practices of the christian faith. If you are like many people you feel bad that you do not practice your faith more. You may be down on yourself for failing to fulfill plans you have made to read the bible daily, or meditate 20 minutes a day, or pray or whatever. Some of us go so far as to think we are bad people because we fail to do these things regularly. 

Well, something to remember is that no one is “better” because they have the self-control or discipline to commit to these practices. The practices often have benefits over the long term and surely the hope is that the Holy Spirit will work in and through us as we develop such practices. In fact, we hope to see the fruit of the spirit growing in our lives, love-joy-patience-gentleness etc. but we are not ‘better’ than anyone else just for sitting down. 

My point is this: The fruits are important, exactly how we get to them is not. That is why so many of the practices here are made up, a bit on the fly, examples of ways of being that have worked for me at various times. They are not written in stone and they seek to play with and off practices that have worked for others in other times and places and may just be able to help you along the way. 

When it comes to spiritual practices, go with God, go with instinct, go with what works and what appears to produce the kind of fruit you most desire. Ignore the outer and inner critic. Get out there and play. 

Blurred Lines can be pleasing too

I am not much of a gardener, in fact, I live in a townhouse partly to avoid the responsibility of caring for the outside of my dwelling. I suppose I am a descendant of the part of Adam that got kicked out of the garden! Where I live we have a gardening committee made up of folks who love such work and thinking about it, and making it happen, so our place is lovely despite the fact that my running shoes get more use than gardening tools.

I have noticed that in gardening there are various styles. I am not really one to think one style is objectively superior to another, though they are different and various people will appreciate them to differing degrees. Still, I wonder if the styles relate to our minds and souls and how we think and how comfortable we are with mystery. Some gardens have very rigid straight lines, clear definition between sod and dirt, clear sections of types of flowers or flower beds, maybe they have sleek furniture that is clean and angular. Others are more blurred, they look sort of half hazard, growth and fecundity all over, nary a straight line to be found, bursting with colours and leaves that don’t match, furniture older worn out, rounded. Some prefer the one, some prefer the other. Diversity of gardens and of the folks who love them is part of what makes God’s creation so interesting and loveable.

I have been thinking about gardens because on my walks lately I have been noticing them more and more as folks enjoy the springtime in Ottawa and perhaps thanks to Covid they are spending more time and money on their gardens than they normally would and straight-lined or blurred they are popping these days. It all has me ruminating on the life of faith and what is emerging as I delve deeper into my spiritual practices. In my life of faith when I was younger there were more straight lines, you do this, you don’t do that, you think this, you don’t think that, black and white, easy, clear. The longer I spend reading my bible and meditating upon the word or in silence before the Divine, the more I find myself comfortably lost in mystery. My spiritual life feels more and more like a disorderly garden, full of beauty and fecundity, even if the logic within it is getting harder and harder to pin down. 

Part of me wants the straight lines just as part of me finds them pleasing in a garden. This isn’t a harsh either/or matter. In my quietest moments I must admit that the blurring is where I am headed and I think I am ok with that.

(A photo of the garden my dad cultivates with a loose hand)

Here is a blurry and messy (not overly thought-out) example for you. Many religions speak of re-incarnation, the returning of the soul in another entity in creation. Christians don’t tend to think this way and many (sadly) will go so far as to mock that viewpoint. Here is the blur: what if the resurrection of the body is something akin to re-incarnation or serves—at root—a similar purpose to the faithful? Not the same, mind you, but need the lines be as solid as some think they are? 

I like to think that as the Light shines it can make sight difficult at times, like when you first wake up and the sun is already up or a camper has a flashlight in your eyes. Paul wrote,He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. It makes me think that the blurring may be part of the life-giving work of the Lord. I sure hope so!

The point is that if you jump into the quiet disciplines you might need to be prepared to be surprised at where it all leads you. I recommend (as some reading this no doubt would recommend to me) that a guide is helpful, someone a little (or a lot) further down the road who can help us discern between godly words and visions and deceptions. 

Guide or no guide be prepared for a challenging and joyful ride. 

May the Divine work in you as you pursue the life of faith. 


Review: Broken Bread by Tilly Dillehay

Broken Bread: how to stop using food and dew to fill spiritual hunger is a very approachable book and not just for those who have particular struggles with food. As I write this BBQ season is getting going so this might be of particular interest.

As a teen/young woman Tilly had a real struggle with food, she found herself fasting for multiple weeks in a desperate attempt to get weight under control. She fought bulimia, self-control issues, and persistent challenges in how to consider, honour and trust her body. She is far from alone in this. 

Today she is a young mother and her body has, again, gone through some substantial changes. 

This book was of interest to me because I believe some of our ill-health has to do with food consumption and some of our eating often has to do with deep psychological and spiritual realities in our lives and I wanted to better understand this for my own sake (I am always up for re-considering how important relationships in my life work, like food) and also as a pastor. 

Likely thanks to her personal past, and also because of the grace infused in her by God, Tilly is an amiable and sensitive guide. She knows of what she speaks when she talks of the desires we are trying to fulfill and the pains we can face along the way. 

This book covers a an array of topics and eventually gets to where it must, C. S. Lewis’s  claim that the desires in us that cannot be fulfilled this side of the river teach us that there is another side, a feast to come; and also to the table of the Lamb, the bread and wine, body and blood of Jesus. She does this well, you always feel like you are in good hands and she is getting somewhere and if you need to follow her there you can do so with confidence. 

This book is imminently practical, with questions to reflect upon along or with a friend after each chapter, practices one might consider if a particular chapter struck you, and further readings that include everything from theology to fiction in case reading is more your thing. 

I recommend this book to anyone who eats food on a regular basis:)


Starting Over is Always an Option

A few years ago there was a witty article in Runners World Magazine by a long distance runner recovering from an injury. He was (he admitted) whining about first world problems. One of his gripes was that he was used to showering everyday because he was always getting smelly and salty from running long distances and showers were not optional. In recovery he found it difficult to admit that he was not working his body enough to need a daily shower and that when he did shower it was not to wipe away signs of vitality but rather signs of grime and death. I guess he was looking forward to starting over. 

He had been successful in building a habit that was valuable to him and having it taken away was distressing for him. The subtext to the article, I believe, was the concern that he may never be able to feel the shower after a long hard energy-sapping run again. 

Many people have set out to start a new routine or habit whether physical, relational, or spiritual. We have all been inspired at times and decided to set a new practice, maybe we think the practice itself sounds fun or maybe we want to be the sort of person who does “x”. Just as many have failed. Even those who succeeded at one thing have surely failed at others. 

What do we do when we fail to meet our own expectations? 

I have three practices I try to maintain regarding this, two are avoidance strategies and the third is a recovery one. 

First, whenever a decision needs to be made I can ask myself, do I want to be the type of person does X or does Y. It can be eats cookies for breakfast or it can be meditates before breakfast. Do I want to be the guy who can’t retire because I love the impulse buy so much or the guy who mindfully approaches the day? I often know the answer of who I want to be and thus can get started with any small decision. 

Another practice is to make my mind up ahead of time. For example, when I wake up in the morning I already know what my workout will be, running, rowing, cycling, whatever, so that I need not think about it, it is not negotiable, I have already decided to do it, now it is only a matter of whether I will do it well or not. This involves little tricks like setting out my clothes ahead of time (or at least knowing what clothing I will need, in Ottawa this can be a bit of a game). If praying with a candle is your goal then know where the candle and matches are before you go to bed. If you want to start your day with a smoothie put the blender on the counter at night. You get the idea. 

Finally, it is important to remember that every day is a new day and if I have failed along the way today is my chance to get back on track. When it comes to regular bible reading I do not make up for missed days, I simply take up where I left off and read the smaller amount. If I had trouble getting it done yesterday aiming for double the amount today strikes me as unwise, bedsides there are no police who are coming to get angry that I am a day behind. If you meant to walk 5 km a day and failed, walking 10km is likely unhelpful, even if you can do it what happens the next day when you are more sore than planned?

Now we get back to the shower idea we opened with. When I have had a particularly bad day, left too much on the table undone the day before, I sometimes—and I truly believe it is the Holy Spirit nudging me—feel like my shower is a sort of spiritual cleansing that prepares me to start over and do better today. 

Water on my back helps me I realize that every day is the chance to start over, begin a new streak, set a new pattern. So whether you are behind on finances, bible reading, meditation, praying, fitness goals, having that important talk with a friend/spouse/family member, or whatever, perhaps tomorrow you can set the intention early, accept where you are, reflect on appropriate and obtainable goals, and then follow the Spirit to what will be fulfilling in the day.