Another crucial element of my spiritual formation is my study of God’s word.
This is a deep study where I do more than just read devotionally in the morning. When I study God’s word I read it over and over again, I study the historical context, and I look at the literary issues/meaning of the original text. For example, I just finished leading a 20 week Bible study series on the life of David about how he faithfully followed God, served Israel, and worked under Saul. Fernando further expands on the necessity of reading the Bible and the change that happens in our lives when he writes, “being anchored in the Word of God also gives security and firmness to our ministries. The path of obedience in ministry is not very easy to follow, as it often goes against our natural inclinations. Sometimes when we are obedient to God, others might think we are fools, and even we ourselves might wonder.”
To accumulate all of these practices in their essence leads to me getting my identity from God. And that identity and picture, I hope, looks like this: “People who get their identity, security, and significance from God have the strength to be servants. Servants do many things that seem to be demeaning. Their schedules are at the mercy of those they serve, and often things requiring attention crop up at the most inconvenient times. One has to be strong to remain joyous while doing such things.” I hope that I can be that servant and I pray that my practices and attitudes of spiritual formation lead me to being that way. Because the main focus on these important spiritual practices and attitudes focus on solitude, I would like to conclude with some thoughts on solitude from a man who knows what true solitude looks like and about the benefits that come from it. In his book, The Way of the Heart, Henri J. M. Nouwen reflects:
Solitude is not a private therapeutic place. Rather, it is the place of conversation, the place where the old self dies and the new self is born, the place where the emergence of the new man and the new woman occur.
 Ibid., 59.
 Herni J. M. Nouwen, The Way of the Heart: Connecting with God Through Prayer, Wisdom, and Silence (New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 1981), 17.