Discipline. Tough word for a Monday morning when we feel like we’re doing our best to crawl out of bed and make it to the bathroom, unsure of how we’ll ever make it to work–let alone through the rest of the day…or week ahead.
When I went looking for pics for today’s mindset word, the two above were among the most popular. The Olympic theme, or athletics in general were the strongest contender by sheer number. I was hoping to see more educational, piano playing, band practicing–anything that requires intentional striving for excellence.
What was totally missing included silence, study, prayer, service, meditation. You know, spiritual disciplines. Does the world even see them as disciplines?
Here’s what I know about discipline:
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11).
Rather, be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined (Titus 1:8).
Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the LORD your God disciplines you for your own good (Deuteronomy 8:5).
As a child I shunned discipline. I didn’t try because I didn’t want to fail. But all that did was make me feel like a failure since all my friends were good at stuff because they learned the importance of hard work and achievement.
Getting older helped. I began to see some things I was good at and I’ve applied myself and created my niches. I realized I didn’t have to be good at everything and instead worked hard in certain areas.
One thing I have worked especially hard at is exercise–a discipline of my body. I have completed a time of daily exercise 976 days in a row. That seems to impress some folks and others merely dismiss it as excessive or as misdirected energy. For me, it’s neither. Exercising every day is a discipline which I find comforting and encouraging. I tend to make light when people ask why I keep going. I tell them I don’t want to start over. But even if I had to, I would.
Here’s the thing: discipline is a choice. I may not be able to control the outcome or result, I can make the choice to do it. And I’m better for it. Getting on the bike, or walking, or rowing isn’t always fun. Sometimes I’m soar or tired or busy. But I have tasted of the fruit of peace and strength. I’m not going to quit.
What disciplines to you nurture in your life? What do you gain from them?