In order to commit to a contemplative knitting practice for the long term, before we even start, we need to develop a plan for when we get off track. In the beginning we might feel excited about starting a spiritual discipline that involves knitting and praying but eventually that enthusiasm will wear off. Then we’ll skip a day and then a week and soon we will have stopped all together. What happens next is critical. We must have some plan to get ourselves to restart. This is true with any habit we are trying to develop whether it is exercise or diet or prayer.
Let’s start by examining our motivation to deepen our relationship with God. When you feel the most enthusiastic about starting your practice write down. Why is having a contemplative prayer practice important to you? Keep it as a reminder.
Think about making prayer a part of your identity. This is who you are not just what you do. For example, people who exercise regularly may think of themselves as an athlete not just someone who exercises.
Another way we can use to get ourselves back on track is accountability. We need to be accountable to someone else. You could find one of your knitting friends to be your prayer partner and then decide how you want to communicate with each other. You could decide to send a text once a day after you complete your prayer time. If you stop sending texts, then your prayer partner could follow up with you to see how you’re doing or to find out how to help you restart. Setting up some kind of accountability is a good way to ensure ahead of time that you will remain committed instead of just letting your practice fall by the wayside.
There are many reasons why we abandon a practice. It’s easy to get off track when our normal routine is disrupted. We go on vacation, people come to visit, we get sick or injured, we get bored, we get tired, and on and on.
There is no question that we will stop our contemplative knitting practice. This will happen over and over. We have to be prepared to restart and we need a plan. Find am empathetic partner, buy a skein of luxury yarn and save it to use for the time you need motivation to restart, or join a prayer group and ask them for help.
The most important piece of sustaining a practice is creating one that works well in your life. It doesn’t have to be a long time each day, it just needs to be consistent. It is consistency over time that brings about real change. It’s a consistent diet, consistent exercise, consistent sleep, and consistent prayer that can help us be all who God is calling us to be. The good news is it’s never too late to start again.