Discipline is not a Four-Letter Word

I just signed up for a Diet Bet. I know, I know – “diet” actually is a four-letter word. I guess I’m in a place right now where I need a little bit of external motivation, and maybe some accountability, in order to keep myself on track. Quarantine life isn’t exactly conducive to stellar eating behaviors. At least not for me.

This Diet Bet has gotten me thinking about discipline. Not the “go to your room!” kind, but the kind rolled out with love by a parent who has my best interests at heart. The kind Richard Foster unpacks in his classic book “Celebration of Discipline.” The kind that shapes a life and creates space for the God of everything to breathe holiness into an otherwise messy (and these days, often fear-filled) existence. The kind that’s good for you. That kind of discipline.

Recently, I’ve become acutely aware of the way I rush into each day’s work, many times without taking time to meet with God in prayer or listen to His voice through Scripture. Once the clock has been punched, even from my home office (read: couch), I’m checking off to-do lists in a swell of momentum fueled by my own steam. Productive? You bet! In step with God’s good plans for me? I don’t know. I forgot to ask.

This is not okay! As I shared with many of you at our virtual women’s retreat last month, our first response to trials and troubles and stressors and life’s various plot changes ought to be prayer. The thing is, I do pray and seek God when things aren’t going well, but on a normal everyday… I skate. Right into it. “I’ve got this, God. No worries! I’m good.”

But I’m not, actually. Good. Without Him.

So, in terms of discipline, I’ve decided I need more of God and fewer carbs. More guidance from His Word to start each day and a few extra laps around the block at night. You might say I’m training myself to pass on empty calories and to savor more of what feeds my faith.

The really beautiful thing is that it’s predictable – when I start my day praising God and searching the pages of His Word for Him, everything is different! How I feel about the challenges I face. How I prioritize the work He’s gifted me to do. How I care for those who share my home. It’s all colored by how I start my day, and whether I invite God to share in that first, sleepy cup of coffee.

“Show me your faithful love this morning. I trust in you. Show me what I should do. I put my life in your hands!” Psalm 143:8 (ERV)

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