"How am I doing in this area of my life?"
"And how about this one?"
"Or this one?"
I suppose it's the reason I chose DISCIPLINE for my word of the year.
It's something that I want very much because I know there are some area in my life in which it is lacking.
I've had to be brutally honest and ask myself, "What are the things in my life that I am putting more importance on than God?"
I see more and more how God desires relationship with me and that He wants me to experience and know success and victory. Because of the areas that I want to see growth and change in, discipline is going to be required of me.
When I looked the meaning of discipline up in the dictionary, one thing I was struck by was that discipline requires training. Several years ago when I was training for a marathon, the word discipline took on a whole new meaning for me.
I had to be disciplined in scheduling when I was going to run.
Discipline was required in the food I ate and the amount of sleep I got.
I had to be disciplined in my running schedule so that when it was time for the race, I would be able to run the distance.
The discipline wasn't there instantly, but it came in small steps - running a few minutes, then a mile, then two, and before I knew it, I was up to 20 miles.
From the moment I signed up for the race until the day I crossed the finish line, I was in training.
Isn't that the same on our spiritual journeys as well?
The discipline comes when we just start taking a step at a time, moment by moment of surrendering and holding on tightly to His hand. Oh, how God shows up and gives us the strength and determination to see it through.
The discipline comes when there is a heart that says, "It's only You, Lord that I want!"
The discipline comes when the victory is worth so much more than continuing to live in a cycle of defeat or discouragement. We were made to have so much more than that, and I don't want to settle for anything else.
The discipline comes from allowing God to flood you with His grace and steadfast love. It's experiencing and knowing Him in every area of your life because there is nothing that is off limits for Him.
Often the word discipline would scare me. Probably because it was His holy voice that would whisper and nudge me to do something about the areas in which I lacked it. To be honest, I just was too stubborn and unwilling. I got comfortable and thought I could continue to ignore what the real issue was. I am recognizing more quickly when the enemy is trying to get me off course and distracted by thinking that there are things that can replace my longing and craving for God with other things.
While I am just beginning what I know will probably be one of the most significant journeys I take with the Lord, I already am feeling the change.
I have Psalm 84:1-2 sitting on my windowsill to remind me what my heart really should be longing for...
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints, for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh song for joy to the living God.
Really, why would I want anything else?