“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith. They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others. As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.
My name is Rosa Goss and my family has been attending FUMC Sylva since we moved here a decade ago. I grew up in the Southern Baptist church, which had a strong focus on knowing scripture by heart. You may recognize Psalm 119:11, which declares, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Looking back, this verse calls to mind many of the churches I attended in my youth and the emphasis they place on memorizing scripture. It was a discipline that was reinforced in children by tying it to rewards. I recall finally being old enough to attend a week-long sleep away camp in middle school and one of the pre-requisites for registration was to recite a section of scripture. (Philippians 3 comes to mind!)
As with many disciplines of youth, I got a little lazy with this one when I left home, though many of the verses I learned stuck with me. Fast forward quite a few years when I was in the throes of working motherhood, hungry for God’s presence. Podcasts had increased in popularity and I began listening to a variety during my daily commute. I found during audio bible studies that certain verses caught my attention. I wanted to remember them and sometimes I wanted to chew on them for a while. Suddenly a former discipline was reborn into a passion!
For the last several years, my commute remained the best time for me to recite and pray scripture. To do this safely without looking at my phone while driving, I downloaded a flashcard app, which has a feature that reads aloud to me. I simply set the deck of flashcards to shuffle the citations and I recite the verses, adding new ones as the Lord calls them to my attention. The best part has been the conversations I have with God through this process. I often start with rote recitation, but the verses often lead into prayers, which sometimes are answered with subsequent verses. Scripture has come alive to me like never before since I reprioritized writing God’s words on my heart.