Lately I have felt like i am often taking the easy route in life and not moving outside my comfort zone. Sometimes i see this in my parenting (ugh, i really hate to admit that) and often in other areas (i.e. allowing someone else to be the welcoming host instead of going up and introducing myself to a visitor in church) I have been convicted to try the more difficult route and see through with the challenge. With my parenting it would be to stay calm and patient even though i feel like i am ready to blow (one of the residents referred to this as the "Hulk Mom," you know the guy who turns large and green when angry. Not one of my better self-descriptions :( in other areas it is going up and talking to new people (I'd rather be the wall-flower), being self-disciplined and sticking with a devotional time daily (and not letting it fade a week or two into it), and in my personal life - signing up for and completing a half-marathon. All of these things take self-discipline and follow-through. Two things i feel God is calling me to improve. Two things that are valuable to a Christian walk.
Perhaps someone else can put it better for me (I'm terrible at this writing thing!) This devotional was in my mailbox a few weeks ago, right at the time i was beginning to tumble around in my mind the idea of needing to improve my self-discipline:
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified I Corinthians 9:27
I was struggling through the first mile of my run, I thought about my lack of motivation to lace up my running shoes that day. I didn't feel like running. I didn't want to stop what I was doing at home and take time to go running. I didn't want to do the hard work. The phrase "I discipline my body" went through my mind. As my legs pumped and my muscles strained and my heart cried out for relief, I certainly understood what Paul meant when he wrote that verse.
As I ran, my mind cycled through the many other things in life that are worth doing, yet require us to "discipline our bodies" into submission to accomplish them. In some instances we must physically discipline our bodies. Taking care of ourselves, exercising, and making healthy eating choices requires resolve, sacrifice, and some hard work.
In other instances we must emotionally discipline our bodies. Choosing to honor our husbands, or our parents, with our words and attitudes requires a continual humbling process that our flesh rails against.
Still other times we must spiritually discipline our bodies. I am learning it's not enough just to say I want a close relationship with God. I have to "discipline my body" to pursue Him. This includes getting up early when my body wants to sleep longer so I can start my day by having a quiet time. And I can't say I want to live by His Word if I am not willing to spend time studying it, disciplining my body by foregoing my desire to veg out in front of the TV in favor of reading the Bible.
I am learning that most things in life that are worth doing aren't going to be easy. Yet my flesh—my lazy, insolent, ugly flesh—continually hangs onto the thought that it should be easy.
Sometimes my flesh wins out, I won't lie. But for the most part I am learning that when I make the effort to "discipline my body" I am always glad later that I did.
And on a different note, i just had to post a recent pic of the kiddos (for the grandmas!!)