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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Self-Discipline

Self-discipline does not come naturally. We are born with the desire to do whatever feels the best, and it's difficult to overcome. However, once it is mastered, it makes a huge difference in every area of life.
Self-discipline defined: the act of denying yourself; controlling your impulses.
Ah-ha! No wonder it's so hard. When is the last time you heard a commerical on TV telling you to DENY yourself? It's a dual struggle...against our flesh AND the culture we live in. The only way for me to gain control of my impulses, as the definition implies, is to pray continuously. Here are some of the areas that I struggle with:
  • Sleep. I wrote about this yesterday...so no need to go into detail. I have a hard time denying myself of more internet time and my bedtime gets pushed later and later and later. Consequently, I am too tired to get up at 5:30 a.m...which is when I desire to meet with the Lord.

  • Exercise. I used to work out daily at 5:30 a.m. 6 days a week. But that was back in year 2000 BB (before Bella). I have the desire now...but no discipline. For the time being I get my "workout" by chasing Bella, lifting her on my legs, climbing the stairs, etc. But it's not enough to maintain a healthy heart. Maybe I will add that to my things to do when I get up at 5:30 a.m. :)

  • Money. I have battled money issues throughout my adult life. It started in college...they told me I could have a free t-shirt if I signed up for their credit card. Sweeeeet! Next thing I know, I have $5,000 on that card and it's only the end of my freshman year. Luckily, I snapped out of that, paid it off, and met Matt. We still had to learn a lot of money lessons the hard way when we were newlyweds, but it's under control now. Especially with the Compact in full swing. We have no consumer debt and we only pay with cash, using an envelope budgeting system. However, even though we are following a budget, the struggle is with the DESIRE to buy things...not actually buying them. Wanting more, when I have more than enough. Even while on the Compact, I have choices to make regarding what we do spend. For example, I went grocery shopping today and I could have easily spent $100 if I would have allowed myself to buy everything I "wanted"... bread (instead of making my own), a sandwich for lunch (instead of going home to eat), apples (they are so expensive right now!), crackers for Bella (instead of making our own)...the list could go on and on. Instead, I stuck to my list and got an amazing amount of food for only $55.00. It was exhilierating to deny myself in this case, because it resulted in saved money.

  • Food. I have always had a fast metabolism...and didn't really have to watch what I ate. Now that I'm getting OLD...I need to be more mindful of what I put in my mouth. I have a horrible sweet tooth, and if I let myself start down a sugar path...it's hard to come back. With that being said, I have incredible self-discipline when I want to...especially in the area of food. Eating only raw foods for an entire month? No problem. No meat for 2 years? No problem. It's all the other little battles. Having another peanut butter cup doesn't really seem like a spiritual battle...but it's the attitude of that heart that matters. If I can practice self-discipline in the little matters...it will be easier during the bigger trials.

  • Maintaining my home. When I discipline myself to clean the apt. throughout the day and put everything away after each use, I am a MUCH happier person. Disciplining myself to create a "place for everything" blesses my family. If I decide that I don't "want" to do the laundry for 2 weeks...there are big problems. Isn't it amazing how God can teach us lessons even through the mundane?

  • My mouth. After high school and college, gossiping became a thing of the past for me. However, I still have to be very careful about my use of sarcasm...and my tone of voice in everyday conversation. It is especially important as a Godly wife to never speak badly about my husband to others. Every word out of my mouth is counted in heaven...I long to please Him with every breath. So challenging...
Basically it comes down to denying myself now for a greater reward/benefit in the future. Getting up early might not feel great now, but the long-term spiritual benefits are plenty. Deciding to exercise and eat healthy even when I don't feel like it will bring health to me through the years of my life. Not buying everything I desire will allow us to save for more important things in the future. Having a discplined mouth brings honor in the present and no regrets in the future.
"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Cor 6:12
I want only to be "mastered" by the Lord...who knows my struggles and my heart. He knows how to best teach me in this area. He displayed the ultimate self-discipline as He willingly went to the cross to die for our sins. My prayer is that I will die to myself daily...for I am not my own.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Laura O said...

very well said! I agree it's hard to deny self of pleasure..it's oh so easy to stop and get a coffee and a muffin when I have perfectly good food at home...or going out and buying a new shirt, just because I want to...but I've learned that self discipline is huge in so many areas and so rewarding too... you are such a smart lady.

11/09/2006 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you hit the nail on the head! i struggle with the exact same things too. thanks for reminding me that it is for GOD's glory and from a THANKFUL heart.

11/10/2006 2:45 AM  
Blogger Abby said...

Wow! I was just up early working on my ritual when I decided to reread your post about getting up early (a little motivation...) and came across this post. I am constantly amazed at how much what you write is exactly what I am thinking! Thank you!

11/10/2006 3:01 AM  
Blogger Here we go... said...

Oh, Sara, ME TOO, ME TOO, ME TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Food, Sleep, Money and Exercise, if I could just be mastered.

11/10/2006 4:41 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

I am hearing the rumblings of my own heart. Thanks for reminding me of His splendour and His desire to know me and my heart.

11/10/2006 4:50 AM  
Blogger angela said...

Oh, Sara, that was like a knife through the heart! Those are the things I am going through RIGHT NOW!! Just this morning already, the Lord and I were discussing where my money was going to go today -- I want to spend it & He says save instead.
I truly want to be TRANSFORMED not conformed to this world. **Interesting side note: I took Greek for a couply of years while I was at Liberty and we learned that the word transformed in the Greek is a continual process...it's not a one time deal--an on going word is what my teacher told us. Just like in Ephesians 5:18 "...but be filled with the Spirit." Filled there is the same concept, it's on-going. I was so amazed by that when my teacher taught us things like that.

Back to self-discipline, remembering that I am not my own, that I have been bought always convicts me and makes me remember that my body is gift and I MUST be a good steward of it. Thank you for sharing these words this morning---just want I NEEDED.
The Lord knows.

11/10/2006 5:08 AM  
Anonymous Kim in IN said...

you know whats interesting? When you fill your heart and mind with things above,the struggle on earth is not near as hard. Self-discipline isn't easy,but oh so much more fulfilling! I have to lay it at his feet everyday,and take one day at a time.
Blessings to you Sara,
Kim

11/10/2006 5:24 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Yes, it's always a challenge. But don't forget God's grace!

11/10/2006 6:33 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Ahhhh yes. Thank you Andrea. If it wasn't for God's mercies being new every morning...there would be no hope for me! He is beyond patient with me...and I am so grateful for that.

11/10/2006 7:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara,
Just wanted to say that I am a fairly new reader here. I am very much enjoying your site and also what you have to say. Thanks!
Laura

11/10/2006 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love reading your thoughts...especially since they are so applicable to my own life (as other comments have stated).

Ack...my mouth! But where does that come from...my brain, and where does that come from...my heart. I am often biting my mental tongue!

Also, you may have already discovered this great blog, but just in case I thought I'd mention it. ttp://veganlunchbox.blogspot.com/

11/11/2006 6:09 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Just a note on the sweet tooth... if you're craving sweets, that's often your body's plea for water.

Love that verse... it is one of my absolute favorites!

11/13/2006 6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great post. in all honesty, i read your blog quite frequently too. and through heather's posts, i already know who you are. :O) your blogs is always filled with something interesting, and can i say that i ADORE your blog about bella? so so sweet.

11/16/2006 7:23 AM  
Blogger catina jane said...

your blog is so inspiring to me!
i struggle to be focused in almost every
area of my life..
this post was a great reminder to get buzy .

11/17/2006 11:23 AM  

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