Discipline. The word can provoke many memories, and arouse many emotions. Some good, some possibly not, but being disciplined is always intended for our good. In every area of our life practicing discipline brings order, wellbeing and peace. To be financially disciplined is to live within our means. To be spiritually disciplined means to not just know what we believe, but why we believe it – which takes study, prayer, and practice. To be emotionally disciplined means to not let circumstances rattle you. To be relationally disciplined means to have healthy boundaries.
And, to be physically disciplined means that we have regular routines of exercise and a well balanced diet. Side note – This is the reason parents discipline their children, not as a means of punishment, but in an effort to help them understand the importance living a self-controlled and responsible life.
In all of these examples, there are times we might splurge or treat ourselves, recognizing our health, our wealth, our friends and family, food, and entertainment are all gifts given by God for our enjoyment. Having a healthy mindset is not to obsess to the point we can’t enjoy a piece of wedding cake, a date night with our spouse, take an unscheduled coffee break with a friend, or skip a church service while taking a weekend camping trip with our family. It simply means we learn to enjoy all of God’s blessings in our lives while realizing it is our responsibility to steward each one.
This is such a simple concept, but it is one which is difficult to live by. We are by nature addictive creatures. From soft drinks to hard drinks, from workaholic to binge watching NetFlix, from having the attitude “big boys don’t cry” to melting down every time someone shares a differing political or religious perspective, culturally, and personally we are drawn to extremes.
I am learning, however, as I have now entered the back half of middle age, that when I am disciplined in one area of my life it is easier to live a more disciplined life in every area. And by the same token, when I compromise in one area it is easy to do the same in others.
Four years ago, I made the decision to get healthy, which meant losing forty-five pounds and reintroducing exercise back into my life. It has sometimes been as struggle to maintain and there are seasons where I have done better than others. But, I have seen that it is really not “being healthy” which is a struggle, struggle is simply a part of “being human.”
I can either struggle to maintain a more healthy lifestyle or I can struggle with personal fallout of not. And, as mentioned earlier, since I have made the decision to “struggle” for my health, it has become easier to struggle for my faith, my family, my friends, and my finances. Not only that, but doing so also allows me to enjoy my life all the more by savoring those special moments and curbing stressors.
The apostle Paul spoke of “taking every thought captive” in 2 Corinthians 10:5. When we align our thoughts with our goals we are less likely to stumble or stray, our propensity to justify is subdued, and our focus is sharper. Our decision, our motivation, and the actions required to turn our desires into reality takes a sustained effort which is only realized through discipline.
I am thankful for not only the personal discipline I discovered through the program invested in to get healthy, but also for the community around the program which continues to help motivate me to struggle daily for my health and well being. I am also thankful that now as a health coach I am able to pay that forward!
If you are ready to struggle for the good things in life I would love to talk with you! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org