I was in Key West, Florida, last week, and it was a wonderful! I was able to spend time with one of my sisters, and we had an absolute blast. It was warm, the sun was shining, and we got to play around on the ocean sailing, fishing and just having fun. I was in my happy place!
But I have to admit, as glorious as the week was, there was one thing missing. Let me explain.
I read out of three devotionals every morning, and I use two bibles and one other book in my quiet time. Unfortunately, I only had room for one of my devotionals, and I used the Bible app on my phone instead of packing my heavy Bibles and books. I needed to leave room for all the shoes a girl just has to have!
And you know what, I really missed having all of my “tools” along with me. You see, one area of my life that I’ve become very disciplined in is my morning quiet time. I have grown to love these intimate moments with Jesus, and because I love it so much, the amount of time I spend with Him has grown as well. I used to really struggle to try and stay focused for 15 minutes, and now I sometimes spend up to two hours reading and devouring His Word, sitting in silence, and worshipping in the quiet of my home.
And it all came about because of my choice to be disciplined and intentional about my time in the Word. One of my greatest desires is to grow in my understanding and knowledge of the Bible, and I know the only way to do that is to be consistent about reading and studying it.
It’s no different from working out. If we want to see results, we have to be willing to put in the time. It doesn’t happen by accident.
I haven’t been very disciplined in that area of my life lately, but let’s save that guilt trip for later!
For this moment, I want to sit and appreciate the fact that discipline truly does pay off. It’s nice when you see the results. Truth is, I couldn’t wait to get up Monday morning and head to my special spot, feel my Bibles in my hand, and settle into His presence.
Here are four truths about discipline I saw in a teaching of John Maxwell that I think are powerful, with some of my own thoughts behind them:
Discipline comes with a price tag – It will cost you something, whether it’s time, energy or commitment. It requires you to give up the short-term benefits (like sleeping in later!) in order to achieve the long-term gain.
Discipline turns talent to greatness – You may have been born with great potential in a certain sport, but unless you have a great work ethic and put your heart and soul into your training, you will never reach your full potential. Others with more dedication will eventually pass you by. I believe heart wins out over talent every time!
Discipline focuses on choices, not conditions – I love this one, especially since we talk about choices here at Choose. When we let external conditions around us dictate whether we are going to exercise discipline or not, we set ourselves up for failure. There’s always some excuse to be found. But people with internal discipline focus on the fact that no matter what’s happening around them, they have a choice and can remain on course.
Discipline does not bow down to feelings – To be honest, when I first started being more intentional about my quiet time, I didn’t always “feel” like doing it. As I learned to push through those negative feelings and do it anyway, those “feelings” started losing their power. The spiritual growth I felt was undeniable, and the positive feelings helped me push through when negative thoughts tried to get in the way.
Here's the bottom line: We can’t wish our way to success.
So what about you, my friend? Are you naturally disciplined, or do you struggle like many of us?
I encourage you to pick one area of your life that you want to grow in, and then make the choice to be disciplined about following through.
You’ll be so glad you did!
Hugs and love,