Today’s focus is on discipline. The kind we’re talking about here doesn’t have anything to do with punishment but rather leading a life on purpose and with purpose. That is ambiguous however and doesn’t necessarily make it very clear.
Like any good homeschool mom I must first look at the definition before embarking on any study involving a word. So here you go:
Disciplined-trained mentally or physically by instruction or exercise
A synonym that may be even closer to what we’re looking for in our lives would be the word controlled.
Controlled- restrained or managed or kept within certain bounds
(definitions from thefree dictionary.com.)
In America we are defined as a culture by our excesses and you might even go so far as to note that we are also as individuals defined by our excesses. Sound extreme? Have you ever heard anyone brag about how little sleep they can get by on? Or how about how they “can’t function” without their coffee? And just maybe you’ve heard yourself say, “I SHOULDN’T, but why not?” Recently in the news the “super size” issue has been another sign of the times and our cultures’ love of excess.
We are talking about ALL kinds of things here. It could be food, beverages, work, hobbies, work-outs, shopping, spending etc… This list could go on, and on and on.
Besides the “things” that need discipline there are also action and attitudes. It used to be if someone said they would do something you could count on it. More and more we’re seeing people do what is best for them in the moment and throw commitments out the window. Marriages have been most devastated by this, “when the going gets tough, we get going attitude.” But there are little things too that people have no problem “bailing on”.
These would be the sports teams, homeschool co-ops, working in the nursery at church, even commitments to family and friends. It used to be if you committed to doing something people would assume you’d show up. Anyone out there that is in charge of anything knows that more and more this is no longer true. Parents used to make their kids “stick it out” because others were depending on them. What happened to that?
Now, I’m not trying to say no one has this attitude anymore but it is certainly in the decline.
So why do we want to be disciplined, controlled? Well, it does make us better people in my opinion, but bottom line if you’re a Christian you’re to follow Christ’s example. Christ was disciplined. He followed through, so we must.
Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (NIV) If getting up “very early” to pray isn’t a sign of a disciplined life I don’t what would be.
There isn’t one verse that says, “Jesus led a disciplined life”, but the whole gospels testifies to it. He began his ministry at the appropriate time, He fulfilled his purpose and his Fathers will in the right time, He resisted temptation under dire circumstances, He fought fatigue and yet knew when he needed rest and sought it, we could go on and on.
We need to be in control of ourselves. To get started you may want to think of one small thing or area that you can work on controlling or disciplining. It’s really just a matter of telling yourself “no.” It might be too much internet time, phone time, too much caffeine, desserts etc…
How about trying a fast off of that one thing just to prove to yourself that you can be disciplined? A few years back I was fond of saying that I was, “addicted to french vanilla creamer.” Just because, I went for a whole month without it. It felt great to prove that I could. It’s been several years, and yes I do still use creamer sometimes but I don’t say I’m addicted and I’m not.
I remember a few years back reading a book by Lisa Whelchel (you know from The Facts of Life show), she felt like she needed to get control of making all the decisions and took a “fast” from that. I remember her saying it was the month that they chose their picture for their Christmas card and she let her husband make the decision which was hard for her.
So what is it for you? Are you willing to take the challenge?