Monday, 14 January 2008

Discipline

During my parents' visit over the Christmas holiday, Mum and I chatted about the struggles I'd been having to get to the end of each day without feeling completely exhausted or depressed... The last weeks of 2007 were quite gruelling and emotionally draining and I guess I just let myself go physically and spiritually. I tend to find winter hard going anyway (see here and here), but what with a bereavement on top of 'normal' everyday life, I found myself in survival mode all the time.

Surprisingly (or not? God knows me, after all...) the outcome of these conversations with my mother has been a renewed desire for discipline in my life. It has been a real revelation for me, at the start of this new year, that in order to be in good physical and spiritual shape, I've got to work hard, train and discipline myself and go through a degree of pain in the process. But the irony is that the fitter I become, the more energetic and 'happy' I feel! Isn't it amazing that God created our bodies to release happy hormones when we exercise??!! And aren't the principles the same for spiritual exercise?...

Why I had never really properly thought about this before, I am not really sure! Maybe I had, but the thinking process hadn't quite made it to my heart. However this time I have actually been deeply convicted of a sort of 'laziness' and apathy in my life that I really want to get rid of.
While cynics will tut and sigh at the predictability of deciding to 'get fit' and 'lose weight' at the start of a new year, I know that there is no better opportunity than now, to try and regain control of some very sloppy attitudes! It's a perfect time to take stock, to turn a new leaf and move on (just piling on some more cliches to satisfy those cynics!!)

So I have joined the gym...
And have started on a diet...
And am reading God's word daily without fail...
I am also chosing not to listen to the little voice inside that says "I can't be bothered".

Practically it looks something like this:
  • The kitchen needs tidying and the floors need mopping? I'll do it even if I don't feel like it!
  • It's raining outside and I want to watch trash and eat chocolate? I'll grab an apple instead and get out as quickly as possible!!
  • I think I'm getting a migraine? I'll (try to) swallow some tablets and not make a big deal out of it...but instead pray through it and know that it'll pass quicker if I relax and let go.
  • I'd rather have a lie-in and read the Bible later? I'll prop my pillows up, turn up the lights, open a window, take a swig of water and spend some time with my Lord.
And on it goes! It's hard work I can assure you... These are not the kind of attitudes that come to me naturally and that is where the training aspect of discipline comes in:

"At the time discipline isn't much fun. It always feels like it's going against the grain. Later of course it pays off handsomely for it's the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God" (from Hebrews 12v11, Message)

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time but painful. Later on however it produces a harvest of righteousness for those who have been trained by it" (same as above, NIV)

I'm so grateful that I have this opportunity to start afresh and I know I cannot do this in my own strength! I would fall at the first hurdle if I was on my own. But I have embarked on this new 'training regime' hand-in-hand with God; He has led me to this place and it is His will for me in this new season. I also have the support of some lovely friends who are doing this with me (at least the physical part) and of my darling ones at home. I hope to post regular updates here, in a bid to remain accountable. Please also feel free to share your 'journeys' into discipline with me as it is important to 'spur one another on'...

6 comments:

  1. You are a great encouragement to me in that I am trying to reestablish some very good habits that I've lost as well. I'm getting better at the reading and quiet "be still and know" time, but it's still sporadic. I love your examples of what you want to do and what you *should* do... I can relate to them all. Especially mopping the floors! Lord, bless our efforts to know you better and trust more.

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  2. You've made some very good resolutions there. I've broken both of mine - no chocs and go to bed earlier. Must try harder. Best wishes.

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  3. RK...I'm encouraged that I'm not alone - and that you are encouraged! Look forward to hearing more on how you're getting on. Blessings to you friend!

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  4. Lynn - don't worry!! There's always next year... ;o)

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  5. it's good to decide something rather than just thinking about it, so well done you :)

    me, i've got my running shoes out again and trying to go twice a week.

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  6. Paul...well done YOU!! It'll do you good. I'm flaking a little in this third week but that's where the test is. It would be so easy to give up now, but I'm determined to keep it up with God's help. Blessings

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