I can not even remember the last Friday that I brought a “Fresh Word Friday” to “Sweet Tea”.
It is not that I have not collected them, or thought about posting one, I just do not have enough DISCIPLINE
to keep some of my many spinning plates spinning, or my many good intentions on my schedule.
As I have pursued God’s Word this past week about balance and priorities, the word DISCIPLINE has been rolling around in my mind and heart.
When I hear or even THINK, the word discipline, I get ready for fun to go BYE-BYE!!
carrot verses carrot CAKE
treadmill verses rocking chair and good book
skinny latte verses White Chocolate Mocha
car wash verses a good movie
“sale” racks verses “New Arrivals”
DISCIPLINE is just NOT a “fun” sounding word to me.
I looked it up in my big old Webster’s (I keep this giant ripped up red book next to my prayer chair). What I found kind of surprised me. I knew the obvious definition, the one that I don’t care for that I mentioned above.
It goes like this: Discipline: to punish or penalize for the sake of training, instruction or control (YUK); to impose order; a rule or system of rules (YUK,YUK,YUK)
but then, I found some other stuff.
The root word of DISCIPLINE is DISCIPLE: Follower of Jesus, Apostle.
This definition lead to this:
A Field of Study, a training that perfects character; teaching, learning, training, order (YUM).
Now, those are some words I can hook up with.
A have have a very old book on my bookshelf titled “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster, originally published in 1978.
I have studied this book a few times over the years, the last time was a few years ago with a group of ladies who where in my home for a group that I host now and then called “Leading Ladies”. The group is made up of women of all ages who are serving in positions of leadership. Some are in ministry, business or education. The book has always been a great challenge to all of us and is not an easy read. It is steak verses jello, if you know what I mean.
I decided a few days ago that it might be time for me to revisit these principles and get my inner world into a bit more outer order.
I don’t know about you, but for me, sometimes things just seem to get off track a bit when I least expect it.
I begin to struggle with priorities, feel crunched and overly busy. AKA—STRESSED!!
I find myself sad about not having time for some things that matter to me:
time with my friends or family that is about rest and restoration—not work or even “ministry”
time in my garden–just for fun, not because I NEED to
time just meditating on God’s goodness–not working on a 3 point outline or a book chapter
I have some signs in my life that tell me when it is time to regroup.
When I feel like a dry sponge at a worship service, I know that I had not spent enough time in God’s presence to stay full.
When I feel easily irritated or discouraged, I know that I need to take a look at my inner life.
When I slip back into people pleasing or insecurity, I know that I have wandered from the things that keep me strong and connected to who I am in Christ.
Does any of this ring a bell?
Mr Foster says in his book, ” The disciplines of the spiritual life call us to move beyond surface living into the depths. They invite us to explore the inner caverns of the spiritual realm. They urge us to be the spiritual answer to a HOLLOW world.”
He goes on later to say, “JOY is the keynote of all of the spiritual disciplines. The purpose of discipline is FREEDOM from self interest or wordly measures”.
Psalm 42:1 says:
As a deer longs for water, so I long for you God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
As the heart pants and longs for the water brooks
so I pant and long for you o God,
My inner self thirsts for God,
for the living God.
A white tailed deer drinks from the creek;
I want to drink God,
deep draughts of God.
I am thirsty for God alive.
Mr Foster closes his first chapter with these words:
“The life that is pleasing to God is not a series of religious duties.
We have only one thing to do, namely to experience a life of relationship and intimacy with God.”
That is the kind of discipline that I desire and purpose to maintain in my life.
It is time to get me some reNewed DISCIPLINE!!
However, I will be having me some Carrot Cake during the Super Bowl!