Monday, May 5, 2008

The Obstacle to a Disciplined Life

Kelli asked me to elaborate on what I thought is the biggest hindrance to living a more disciplined life. Sadly, this is not a subject that is new for me. I've re-posted an article below that I originally wrote in August of last year addressing the same issue.

If I were to speak very candidly about my struggle for a disciplined life and what has been my biggest obstacle, I would say it is selfishness. I don't know that this is the case for everyone who struggles with this same problem, but it is for me.

I choose to spend time blogging rather than spend time tending to my home. I choose to watch tv until late at night rather than get the appropriate amount of sleep. I choose to eat what I enjoy rather than deny myself in order to be healthy and lose weight. I choose to read a novel rather than the Scriptures. If I don't want to do something because it's hard or unpleasant, I make excuses and choose to do something that I enjoy instead.

The bottom line is that I choose to please myself rather than to please God.

A verse that I am choosing to commit to memory this week addresses this very issue. In Luke 9:23, Jesus says, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." I have to make the decision to deny myself. It's that simple.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote, "When Jesus bids a man come, he bids him come and die." We are called to die to our selves. It's that simple.

* * * * * * * *
(Originally posted August 2007)
"Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled."
Titus 2:3-5

One of the biggest struggles in my life is to be a disciplined woman of God. Unfortunately, I am not yet living up to the call given here in Titus. While I have made great strides in recent years, I still find myself every day making poor choices.When I have some unpleasant chore hanging over my head, I will ignore it in favor of reading, watching mindless tv, or my new favorite hobby - blogging. When I tell myself that I should go to bed so I can be fresh, rested, and energetic the next day, I find myself making excuses for staying up late - my stock answer being "It's my only time to be alone." When I know that I am making poor food choices, I tell myself, "Just this one last time."

Why is it that I have not overcome this? Truthfully, the fact is that I have not yet learned, no, decided to subjugate my selfish desires to what I know God to be calling me to do. God has called me to be a homemaker; to make our home a beautiful place of refuge for my family. God has called me to take care of the one and only body He has given me so that it can be ready and able to fulfill all that He has planned for me. I have not yet learned to be self-controlled. Not the way that Paul intended in the passage above anyways. In some ways, my problem is that I am TOO self-controlled. Whatever my "self" wants to do, I do it.

What I need to do is be open to allowing God to mold me and remake my heart so that my inner desires line up with God's desires. When that happens, the "self" that's in control will be a self that is fully yielded to God. Here are some areas where I need to allow God to come in and fill me with His will.

Accepting that my role as a wife and homemaker involves tasks that I find mundane and never-ending (laundry, dishes, cleaning the bathrooms, etc. Fill in your most loathsome chore here). This does not absolve me from doing them. Every career has tasks like this. I must learn to do these tasks as unto the Lord. I may not ever enjoy doing them, but I can do them with joy because I am in the Lord's will.
Making the daily decision to take up my cross in the area of food issues. Now, to some of you, this will sound ridiculous. But to those of you that know the pain and the shame of being addicted to food, that use food as a way to stop stress or pain or boredom, you know what I mean. By taking up my cross I mean choosing to die to my self. It's not just about enjoying the food, it's about using something to fill the void that is meant to be filled by God and so can never be satisfied with anything else.

Understanding that my daily decisions, big and small, affect my ability, and even my desire, to serve the Lord. When I stay up until 2 am, I cannot possibly be at my best to serve my husband and children. When I choose to eat in an unhealthy manner and not to exercise, I place myself at risk of needlessly cutting short the very life God gave me. When I opt to not properly fulfill my role as a homemaker, instead allowing my home to fall into disrepair, I lose my desire to offer hospitality to those God may put in my way.

These are just some of the examples of the ways that I am seeking to learn to be a more disciplined woman. I think the trick is to focus less on the results and more on the journey. Instead of trying to work up the discipline to do all that I've discussed here, I need to spend time with God, allowing Him to fill me with His spirit and renew mine. My mind needs to be renewed. Only then can I be fully used by God.


Leeann said...


I found this post to be amazingly brave.

I think the vast majority of us struggle right along with you.

KUDOS to you.


ValleyGirl said...

Self-discpline is amazingly difficult and I'm pretty sure it's never perfected in our lifetimes. It's constantly a work in progress. I guess the important thing is that we're constantly working at it and that there IS progress. It really is all about the choices we make each moment in our lives.

Mrs. Annie said...

Thank you for being so transparent. Everything you wrote is so true of ME!

stacey said...

i belong to the same club! sadly!

lori-my sister wants an easy way to get started on meal planning/shopping. can you email me your shopping list for your 8-week menu plan? she can always adapt what they don't like, but that should give her a start. do you have other sites for plans, etc? thanks!!!

Scott and Jillian said...

Are you sure you weren't inside my head when you typed this post?! It was exactly what I have been struggling with lately. I just stumbled onto your site. Thanks for a great blog!

heather said...

Such a moving post...thanks for writing it. It is comforting to know that I am not the only one who struggles with these same issues.

Mary said...

I've stumbled onto your blog today and have been reading back through a few posts. This one really struck home with me as did your posts on RESPECT. My sister-in-law and I are currently reading The Excellent Wife and trying to support each other as we strive to be the women, wives and mothers that God designed us to be. Thank you for being so straightforward. I'm being told things I need to hear.


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