It’s ironic that I would be writing a post on discipline since I haven’t blogged in almost a month!! However, it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. We live in a culture that glorifies excess. As Americans, we overeat, overspend, overexert, overcommit, overindulge, overopinionate, (yes, I’m creating new words here), overstuff…you name it, we over it!! Unfortunately, all of this overing tends to wreck havoc on our lives. We find ourselves depressed, unfulfilled, stressed out, exhausted, broken, lost.
Recently, I found myself settling into a bit of a depression over my weight. I am ashamed to say that I allowed myself to overindulge on food to the extent that my weight had risen to the number it was when I was 9 months pregnant. I hated the way I looked, hated the way Ifelt. It took me at least 20 minutes to get dressed each morning because I was too fat to fit into my clothes. Something had to give. Literally, my waist. So, I have enrolled in a weight loss program. I’ve been on the meal plan for a week. It’s been grueling and I’ve been cranky and irritable and desperate for some nachos. But when I stepped on the scale today, I was six pounds lighter!! So, I’m totally going to stay on this straight and narrow path!
I think I understand, more and more, what Jesus was talking about when he talked about following the narrow road that leads to life. When we discipline our lives, when we set parameters on ouselves rather than engaging in our culture’s over the top everything, we live with greater purpose. When we focus ourselves in on something, it takes on more meaning. We give it our best effort. It becomes important to us. And, moreover, when we engage in self discipline, whether it be to lose weight, save money, spend more time with our family, disengage from the t.v., or to draw closer to God, we find ourselves living a more fulfilling life. We become achievers, rather than accumulators.
It’s not easy, though, to live a disciplined life. Personally, it goes against almost every fiber of my being. I like immediate gratification. I don’t like giving things up, especially food. It takes awhile to get into the groove. There’s a reason God had the Israelites wandering around the desert for 40 years. They were learning to be disciplined. It can take a long time! But look at the promise Jesus gives…..this road of discipline is a road that leads to life.
Please don’t think I’m telling you that you have to stop eating, stop shopping, and stop reading anything but your Bible. I think God intended for life to be enjoyed!! I just think that discipline can be good for our souls, and our bodies, and that perhaps the narrow road is the better way to go.
As Robert Frost wrote of the choice between two roads….“And I, I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Blessings and Peace,