Discipline: Months 1 & 2

As most of you know, the last few years I have chosen a word at the beginning of the year to describe either how I see the year going or what I want to strive for. In the past I’ve chosen words like “hope,” “love and suffering,” and “healing.” This year I decided on a word that, frankly, scared/scares me:

Discipline.

Obviously not the punishing side of discipline because I’ve done something wrong, but the idea of making a commitment to something and sticking with it. Naturally, I can be quite the lazy person, but in years past I’ve seen how things have gotten a bit complicated because I lost focus or got lazy or…..just wasn’t disciplined.

I had a few areas in mind that I wanted to work on. Time in the Word, my health, prayer, money.

I decided at the very beginning of the year I would tackle three things on my list: time in the Word, my health, and money. I also made sure I had accountability with these, because if someone isn’t checking on me, I will fail.

And honestly, I still failed even with accountability. Several times. But what the last two months have made me learn was that even though I failed, or felt like I was failing, it wasn’t about the failure at all….it was about getting back up again. It was the difference between “I messed up” and “I quit.”

The hardest for me by far has been the health and fitness.

Like most people, I wanted to get fit and lose some weight. But I really wanted to develop endurance and be able to keep up with the people around me. I wanted to feel better and more energized during the day. I wanted to be stronger. I knew developing discipline would do that.

As I started that journey, I really wanted to give it to the Lord. I wanted Him to develop in me a mindset that only He could make me stronger, and any ounce of strength I gained was His grace in me. My initial mindset was that I would work hard for His glory, and He would give me whatever results He wanted to give me.

So many times I failed. So. Many. Times.

After the first month I was so discouraged because I didn’t see the “results” I wanted to see. I thought after working so hard that I would be leaner and have dropped a couple sizes and would be running around people.

False. Didn’t happen.

I kept wondering, “what’s the point? You’re the failure. You always fail at everything. Just give up. It really isn’t worth it and you’re wasting your time and money.” I had some low days.

But then something someone said hit me like a ton of bricks. “This isn’t about the scale. It’s about getting stronger.”

Ouch. Perspective changed.

So I took a step back and realized, I had gotten stronger. Wasn’t that what I wanted anyways? The ability to keep going, even though I felt like I failed or it was hard? The ability to say no to food and things that would make me miserable or were fleeting? The ability to make time for things that did matter like my relationship with God?

I’ve seen this not only in my fitness, but also in my time in the Word and with my money. Developing that discipline to stay on track, even if I stumbled a few times.

But ultimately developing the discipline to see what really matters in life.

It takes discipline for me to not strive for the vain reasons behind my fitness. It takes discipline to keep going and serving and loving, even when it’s inconvenient. It takes discipline to see people as more important than “my time.”

I’ve seen God make me stronger. Not for me. For Him.

 It is for discipline that you have to endure….

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.

He’s making me new, and that can’t fully happen without discipline.

I no longer see it as something scary, but something rewarding. Not for the external rewards, but for the grace God gives through it to make us really live life.

Here’s the month 3.

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