Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Discipline - It's Not Just For Kids

Just before Christmas we were at an event where Grant and I overheard a frazzled mother trying to get her boys to stop running around and acting crazy. She finally resorted to "Am I going to have to call Santa?" Even Grant thought that was really funny. I just saw her again the other day and the boys were again acting wild. I wonder what she will use to threaten them now that Christmas is 11 months away?

Discipline is something that we think about a lot as parents. We know how important it is for our kids. There are a million and one experts out there with all kinds of opinions, books and advice on what's best - and I doubt that threatening to call Santa is at the top of anyone's list!

Well, I'm no expert on discipline but I think some expert needs to remind me how important it is to be disciplined as an adult, parent and Christian. I was reading 1 Corinthians 9:27 and then I heard it in the the New Living Translation. It says,
"I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise I feel that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified."

There are a lot of days that I don't feel like getting out of bed, making breakfast, making school lunches, doing laundry or getting dressed. I don't want to get up and help Annie put her snow boots on for the 15th time for no apparent reason. I thought I was just tired (and I probably am!)

I don't want to get up early in order to get my devotions in. In fact, I don't want to do them at all. What do I want to do? Take a nap, sleep in, eat some ice cream and watch TV. So life quickly becomes a mess! Nothing gets done, everything and everyone in disarray and I am frustrated.

So I've been thinking about that verse a lot. Have you ever seen someone train for a marathon? I think they are kind of crazy but I bet they have to keep on running even when they are out of breath and their legs feel like rubber. I have to force my body into doing what I have to in order to serve God and my family. It's easy to let feelings of stress and tiredness turn into laziness.

I seriously thought about not having any Bible Studies this spring because it is A LOT of work and I don't feel like doing it. I realized that is the one place outside my family that I really feel like God wants to use me. And it is something I can do at this stage of my life - it's at my house and the kids can be here. But I do have to clean up and make coffee and I'd rather not most mornings!

I know rest is important too. I've been doing some studying on rest and I haven't quite figured it out yet. Maybe I'll have more to write on that in a few days. There are certainly times we must say no. But a lot of times rest seems to be resting in God to meet our needs. Often when I go out on a limb to serve Him, he provides the strength and energy that is needed. And often I end up feeling refreshed from my service. There are also times when God provides extra rest through Mike or a friend helping me out with the kids and giving me a break especially after some service that has been an extra drain on me.

Rest is a part of discipline. When I stay up too late because I want to "relax" I'm not being disciplined. The truth is there are times that I could use for physical rest that I foolishly waste! So obviously there needs to be a balance. But I need to be disciplined in my spiritual life so I don't fall apart and I need to discipline myself to meet the needs of my family even when I don't want to. And if I would be more disciplined, those needs wouldn't pile up and become such a burden to meet (like 10 loads of laundry)!

I'm pretty sure I won't ever become a marathon runner, but with God's help I can keep on doing the things he has called me to. I don't want to try to teach my kids discipline without doing it myself - I think that might disqualify me.

1 Corinthians 9:27
"No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others,
I myself will not be disqualified for the prize."

Proverbs 23:23
"Buy the truth and do not sell it;
get wisdom, discipline and understanding."

1 comment:

Wayne Pederson said...

This is really good. I'm learning that life can't always go full-speed ahead. Our worth can't be valued by what we accomplish. But the basic discipline of work, rest, recreation, renewal provides a balance in life. I used to measure my worth by my efficient use of time or the impact my work leaves on mankind. I'm growing to realize our worth lies more in who we are in relationship to God and our relationship with others.

So I'm continuing to use life disciplines to provide the balance in eating, exercise, rest, solitude, service, relationships, play, Bible reading (inhale) prayer (exhale), entertainment.

As The Message translates Matthew 11: "Learn the unforced rhythms of grace."