Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. It is important, however, to realize that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God's guidance.
Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God. Solitude requires discipline, worship requires discipline, caring for others requires discipline. They all ask us to set apart a time and a place where God's gracious presence can be acknowledged and responded to.
Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey
If there were a theme I'd take for what God seems to be showing me this Lent, it's this.
I have been seeing so clearly recently that not creating boundaries, or else not respecting the boundaries I have created, is the greatest obstacle to keeping open time and space for God. Every time I make allowances for things, make allowances for my own tiredness, my preoccupations, or fail to factor in "protected times" for the prayer part of my Rule, things just swirl in and overwhelm that open time and space.
Perhaps it is just because it is open time and space it is vulnerable - just as the open heart is vulnerable, and yet it is the only door Christ has to enter by.