The Discipline of Discipline

It seems to be that time of year again… you know, everyone gets all contemplative and looks back over the last year and decides what’s been good and what should be better for the new year. I usually try to stay away from the specific new years resolutions and attempt to be self-evaluative throughout the year, but it’s hard to escape it sometimes…

I’ve been thinking about discipline. Actually, I’ve been thinking about how I need to be more disciplined. There are lots of things I want to do, things that will shape my character and who I am, but frankly I’m not disciplined enough to really do some of those things. I’m lazy. I don’t try to be and I don’t try to use that as an excuse, but it’s so easy to be lazy sometimes… or to be disciplined with the things I enjoy, and not as disciplined with the things that I don’t enjoy as much.

I realized earlier tonight that there’s some irony in the book I’m currently working through. It’s Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, and so far it’s a great book. I say so far somewhat tounge in cheek – I’ve had it for well over a year and it’s taken me this long to start reading it. And I haven’t read much so far… and it’s not because I’m busy reading other things. I just don’t have the practice of reading, the discipline, engrained enough in my life. I’m not disciplined enough to consistently read a book about discipline.

It’s not all that bad.. there are some things that I’m quite disciplined about, but I can more easily draw to mind a longer list of things I would like to be more disciplined with. I’m realizing more and more every day how true Jesus’ words are in Matthew 26:41 (“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”) and am being hit more and more by Paul’s writings to the Romans (especially chapter 7).

It’s funny how intereconnected it all is… one’s spiritual walk and practical discipline things. When I engage more regularly with the word of God and in times of prayer, it is easier to discipline myself in other areas of my life (like practicing guitar or reading or writing or doing the things that have been on the bottom of my to-do list for way too long). When those things start to feel more in place, I find it easier to again become more disciplined with my spiritual walk. I think it’s going to continue to be a giant circle of becoming more and more disciplined. I hope I never become truely content with the level of discipline in my life in that way – I don’t think I’ll ever arrive, and I need to make sure that I’m constantly challenging myself to evaluate all areas of my life and strive to grow in all things.