Discipline is Not A Dirty Word
The clouds darken the sky as the wind swirls across my face. I lean into the wind and keep my legs moving. I can hear my footsteps on the asphalt trail in downtown Bloomington. It’s quiet out and I’m alone.
The first rain drop hits my right cheek, then another on my forehead. The sky opens up and the rain pours down on me, drenching my body immediately. I pick my knees up as I lengthen my stride, my heart pounding in my chest. I take deep breaths searching for oxygen and I drive further on the bike path with tall deciduous trees lining each side. I’m six miles into a ten mile run.
The rain is relentless and I can barely see, but I can sense my excitement as I pick up the pace and push harder down the trail. I can feel the hair stand up on the back of my neck as the Holy Spirit ignites my soul and lifts my spirit. My soggy wet shoes feel light and I take each step with ease as I commune with the Lord on the wet and lonely trail. I raise my hands to the heavens and praise God for all of my blessings and for the ability and desire to run in spite of what the world may throw at me. Today God touches me on the trail, because I was disciplined enough to meet Him there.
Discipline is an often misused and misunderstood term. It connotes images of punishment, being denied of fun, or boring work. Discipline is just the opposite, it’s a beautiful word, an act of improvement that when applied correctly, exposes character and cleanses the soul.
To me, discipline means alignment. Our flesh is emotional, irrational, and if gone unchecked, can become out-of-control. When I pursue a specific discipline, like running, it allows my mind, soul, and flesh to become aligned and pushes me to a greater purpose.
I came to the conclusion long ago that God is always with me, without fail. The problem is, I’m not always with God and often stray from Him and my righteous path to pursue matters of the flesh and become out of alignment with my spirit. The truth is, I always know when I’m out of alignment. I can feel it deep inside and I become frustrated and agitated. It is only through an act of discipline that I can get myself back on the right path and resume my proper journey. It’s when I become disciplined that I began to see God again and become open to Him and His plans for me. Therefore, I pursue discipline to ensure I stay as close to God as possible in a fallen world. My habits of discipline is like my light in a dark room or a compass that I carry with me to guide me out of the thick forest of misguided feelings, daily pressures, and temptation.
Here the five areas of discipline that I pursue:
- Fitness – I deny myself to be lazy.
- Eating – I deny myself to indulge.
- Reading – I fill my mind with positive reinforcement.
- Sleeping – I allow myself to heal.
- Praying – I remind myself who is in control.
Discipline is not an area of your life to avoid, but instead, embrace as a powerful tool to keep you on the right path as you continue this wonderful journey called life. What areas of your life do you plan to interject a little discipline? God is waiting for you.