I’ve chatted with several people about their New Years Resolutions, and the one thing that keeps coming it up is “I need to be more disciplined.“ Discipline is fantastic, but I find people, myself included, to try to be disciplined, fail miserably at it, then give up on it all together.
I was thinking the other morning, that instead of thinking about be generally disciplined, that working on specific disciplines would be a lot easier to handle, and giving yourself a lot of grace when you aren‘t. For example, needing to keep a work area clean. Instead of trying epically to do it all at once, taking a bit, by bit area to keep organized, and practicing that area. Once you got one area down, go to the next one.
I can see that mindset being valuable in other areas of your life, such as finances. Getting into the habit of writing down your expenses will make it easier to keep a budget and being disciplined about your money. Or finding a Bible devotional tool so that you can keep track of your progress, and have the ability to do your devotions anywhere. I downloaded a Bible app onto my smart phone, that way I can do my devotions on the bus in the morning, and it keeps track of what day I’m on in my reading so I can catch up.
I used to get so mad and frustrated at myself when I’ve failed at a particular discipline, that I had to retrain my thinking and response to myself. I’ll stop and tell myself: “What’s the point of being angry with myself, it won’t do any good.” Then I’ll think about what I need to do to make a better choice/decision for the next time. It can be slow going, but I do see progress, and the discipline sticks better.
Becoming disciplined is a long road, but fortunately it’s not the end all of everything. It’s only part of the process as we grow, and learning to have grace with ourselves when we do fail, helps us to have grace with others and understand the grace that God shows us.