Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What is God-discipline?

Most of the time, if I had to choose one topic to write about for twenty-something days, it would be tortuous. I'd waffle back and forth between multiple topics, and finally just choose the one that I felt suited the moment best...or I could say the most about.

This time, however, when I saw the #write31days challenge, I knew exactly what my topic would be: self-discipline. God has been writing the words diligence and discipline on my heart for a while now: every day in a myriad of ways.

And yet...

Self-discipline still didn't seem right for what I wanted to convey. The Bible has plenty of verses on discipline and self-control, but for me, it has a different meaning.

When I think of self-discipline, I think of white-knuckling my way through life, independent and strong. I see a self-made woman, plowing her way through life with steely determination, plenty of grit, and great accessories (shush, it's my vision).

But that's not what my walk looks like.

Don't get me wrong; I've tried desperately to make that happen. I have charged into countless situations determined to succeed, independent and strong. Sometimes, that's worked out great. But more times than not, I've fallen on my face and succumbed to failure.

My walk has looked a lot like smeared mascara on tear-stained pillows and crying out to God in the shower. It has been messy, and not without casualties.

I am not self-disciplined.

Nevertheless, God is teaching me how to lean on him to become I'm calling that God-discipline.

More and more, I'm learning that white-knuckling my way through things on my own just isn't me.

I need His strength to get me through the moments when I just can't get through on my own. 

I need His faithfulness when mine is on the run.

I need His grace when, despite His perfection, I mess it all up.

I need His strong hands to help me back up when I fall.

Over and over, I have sought perfection, and when I couldn't achieve it, I've given up. Why do anything if you're not going to do it right? But that simply meant I wasn't getting anything accomplished because I'm far from perfection.

I used "perfectionism" as an excuse to quit. I have gotten overwhelmed and abandoned countless causes.

But not now.

I heard a quote today by Jim Rohn that said: "Success is steady progress toward one's personal goals." That sounds pretty simple, but he put a lot of emphasis on the word PERSONAL. He said you can't let anyone tell you what success looks like for you. Your goals have to be yours; you can't take on someone else's goals as your own. In that, he echoes loudly what God has been whispering to me for quite some time.

For me, progress, not perfection, is the goal, and successful for me may look entirely different than it does to the world. He is teaching me to lean on Him and trust Him in ALL things, leaving what the world thinks far behind.

That's the hardest part for me, you know: abandoning others' perceptions and opinions, letting my the tapestry of my life take on the colors of His will instead of the those of the threads of public opinion.

Thus, I'm abandoning self-discipline; by myself, I'm not disciplined at all. God is teaching me to look to him for the strength to be disciplined and to His grace and mercy when I'm not. I'm embracing God-discipline.

If you're one of those people who executes goals flawlessly, my posts for the month of October probably won't interest you much.

However, if you're someone like me - one who falls down a lot in the pursuit of God's plan and often has difficulty finding the strength and courage to get back up - I hope you'll follow along. We may just learn and accomplish a lot together.

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