I’ve been on a journey over the last years, learning about discipline; spiritual discipline, physical discipline, emotional discipline and mental discipline. In no way have I come to fully understand or even utter the word “master” regarding these disciplines, although I have learned much and am still learning much.
Regular, even gentle, steady pressure, exerted over time will result in dramatic, powerful and lasting change that could not be accomplished with even extreme force otherwise.
Through regular times of meditation and prayer, not trying to move mountains or discover some unearthed truth, I have encountered God in ways that are precious and dear to me; ways that no super-stadium worship service or Martin Luther King style speech could. Small, simple times of hiding away with the Lord are one of the many ways to know Him, but a very effective way indeed.
I’m no Sylvester Stallone or Tony Horton in the gym, but I have found that regular, short periods of physical exertion produce satisfying results. Two or three easy runs a week and several pushups and sit-ups a night have restored my body to feeling strong and healthy.
Life is full of events, meetings and responsibilities to uphold, so I’m well aware of how key relationships
in my life can fall by the wayside as other urgent priorities strip away my time from truly important priorities. A weekly breakfast with my wife draws us back to intimacy and keeps us on the same page. Scheduling one short hang-out time per week with a close friend or relative does something for my soul that nourishes like nothing else can. And when I die (which is eminent, though I’d like to think myself invincible) I won’t be wondering on my death-bed whether my business plans succeeded, but instead whether my siblings, parents, wife and friends know that they are loved.
Learning is a joy to me, though I am often condemned by the fact that I have not completed my bachelor’s degree. So scheduling short 45-minute study breaks in my day to learn something new or finish one more class towards my degree is both rewarding and inspiring. With the pressures of work and providing, learning can take the back seat, but if I intend to grow and succeed, I cannot neglect mental discipline. I welcome any who read this to hold me accountable in this area, and will celebrate with you when that degree is completed.
The reason these things are so key in my life is because I am no hero, no great leader and no prodigy. I’m a simple man with blatant weaknesses and areas of necessary growth. So only by regular and small effort can I have any hope of seeing great life-change and success in my life.
In closing, may I urge you to take a step towards increased discipline in one area of your life? Where can you add a gentle but steady goal-oriented pressure in your life? How have you seen this already play out in your story?