I can’t say that my life is all that disciplined. Most people who know me imagine me more disciplined than I see myself, I think. Unfortunately I find it so easy to let things slide, especially now that I live alone and don’t have as much accountability (and in some ways, responsibility).
Several events in my life recently have reminded me of the benefits of discipline, both at a practical life-level and in my spiritual life.
As I have been continuing to go to physiotherapy I have now reached the point that my back feels pretty good most of the time. I still have occasional nerve discomfort but it is fairly short-lived and not too painful. As a result, I am finding it easier and easier to “forget” to do my daily exercises. Each time I feel that little pang of nerve sensation or see my exercise mat out on the floor I am reminded that things will regress quickly if I don’t keep it up, but without the sharp pain, I have lost much of my incentive to continue. Don’t get me wrong, some days I have been quite disciplined and managed to do all my required exercises but other days, I am tempted to let this go in favour of more interesting activities, or with the delusion to myself that I will “get to it later.”
I am also regularly reminded of the challenge of discipline when it comes to housework. This is one area that I fail to keep up with more often than not. With living alone there is no one else to feel like I need to keep up with the cleaning for. Instead, I let things get to the point that I just can’t stand it and then have to embark on a major clean-up. Logically I know that if I just did a little at a time, I would have a much neater space and it wouldn’t feel so daunting to do but somehow my best intentions succumb to more immediate pleasures and I find myself back in the lack-of-discipline cycle.
My experience of the Christian disciplines has been much like this at times. As much as I know that Bible reading and study, prayer, fasting and so on should be a routine part of my life, I somehow end up waiting until my life is in crisis before I get my act together and seek God’s purpose. Why can’t I seem to learn that keeping up with these disciplines a little at a time would mean that I reach that crisis point less often, I don’t know. You’d think that I’d have things more figured out at this point in my life.
Too often my life resembles the struggle that Paul speaks about in Romans 7:15-25, struggling with the tension between the desires of the mind and the flesh. I do praise God that He has set me free from this tension! Now to get out and live it out in His strength.