Discipline is hard.
I think that is the point. Discipline inherently requires making a sacrifice of will for something that isn’t immediately desirable but ultimately good for you. I have been a very discipline person for various season of my life. Lately, I’ve been a bit lax.
I am going to start training for my second marathon. Yes, I signed up to do it again (due to the gentle pushing of my sibling, and much to her excitement). Let’s just say, a lot of things are going to have to change drastically in my life to accomodate training for a 26.2 mile race. I have been procrastinating that initial switch because, well, I don’t want to do it.
I mean, I do. I love being in shape, and having a big goal that I am working towards, and just feeling good and spent after a long run. But I don’t want to either. I like sleeping in until I know that I can’t sleep in any longer without risking being late for work. I like the freedom of being able to hangout with friends on week nights, because I can stay up a little late.
Obstinance has been a common theme for me lately. Its not a great word to have defining your reactions, let me tell you. There are several areas of life in which I am being obstinant; exercise, diet, sleep, spiritual, etc. There are things I know I need to do, that will be good for me, but I find myself procrastinating, because those things will be hard. I don’t want to be disciplined.
The reality of that is that I want to define what is good for me. I want to be in control and do what I want with nothing “shackling” me. But I am subject to the whims of my desires and emotions, and lets just say they are less than stable. So I am shackled, to myself, and if there is anyone who one doesn’t want to be chained to, its me.
Isn’t this exactly what Jesus died for? It is for freedom that Christ set us free. So why do I feel the need to control that freedom? Why do I feel like something hard is taking away that freedom? It has been given and promised, so even in adversity, I can walk in it. Why is that concept so hard for my brain and heart to grasp?
Here is where running a marathon is a great analogy. The hard work, the training, the sacrifice, the time, the pain, it all enables you to run farther then you ever thought possible. The pain opens up the possibilities. Your body can do more because you have forced it to learn how.
So what if, instead of looking at difficulty as something to avoid and put off, as something constricting and binding, I viewed it as an opportunity to experience more freedom than I even thought possible? I need to continually repented of my control and worshiped Jesus for being ultimately sovereign, and the giver of all freedom, and pray that I see difficulty and hardship as an opportunity to experience freedom in ways I can’t even imagine now.