I am tired of myself! I think I would like to escape from myself, but I never seem to run fast enough to get away. I’m not struggling with self-esteem or anything, because on a good day I love who I am. I guess that I am just frustrated. I feel like I should be better at living for the Lord than what I am. The desire is there, but my self-discipline is greatly lacking. DISCIPLINE…I’m not sure I like that word because it has a very audible harshness to it. I can’t even say it out loud without having scowl on my face…DISCIPLINE. I am very thankful to my parents, coaches, teachers and college professors that did their best to help me develop self-discipline in my life, but I am not sure it ever really got a firm root in my soul. I admire people in this life that have the ability to tell their body and soul what to do. I love their focus and the consistency in which they tackle their goals. It isn’t easy…I know…I’ve tried. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have gone on a diet, tomorrow; and how many 5 mile runs have turned into 2.5 mile runs; and how many workout sessions have turned into me sitting on my exercise ball watching an interesting TV show. Learning to say no to your feelings and impulses is tough. Doing something that doesn’t come easily and that takes grit is even tougher. But I also know that great success only comes through self-discipline. That is true physically and it is true spiritually. Paul would say in 1 Corinthians 9:27, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection.” I guess I having been hoping for the pill version – or something like spiritual liposuction where you go into some office and they suck all the bad attitudes and thoughts, worries, selfishness, discontentment, and pride right out of you and then you are good to go. It won’t happen that way – spiritual success takes effort…a lot of it! So what am I going to do? I know I can’t focus in on my own strength because that only brings failure. I take encouragement from Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. God is offering me help and I know I need to take it. I also need to understand that my life is a journey with a good ending – the apostle Paul says in Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. God is working on me and he will not fail to make me what he wants me to be – that should motivate me to work with him in a greater way. And lastly I need to pay better attention to the small things in my life. There is a famous rhyme, based on the defeat of King Richard III of England at the battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, which illustrates the importance of paying attention to small details:
For want of a nail, a shoe was lost,
For want of a shoe, a horse was lost,
For want of a horse, a battle was lost,
For want of a battle, a kingdom was lost,
And all for want of a horseshoe nail.
How I start my day makes a difference to my whole day. What I entertain for a half hour can impact my whole thought life. Choosing to pray in times of difficulty can greatly impact my whole attitude. The little things make a big difference in my life and so I must learn to concentrate better on the details.
I think that we can all agree that a life lived for Christ can be extremely wearisome. I want to be better at it and I know that it will happen only as I bring my body into subjection. The good news is that there can be success as I acknowledge the Lord and allow him to direct my paths in all I do. Maybe you are where I am today – frustrated, annoyed and a little discouraged. Don’t give up! God has got great plans for you and he is working on them at this very moment. If you are down, get up. If you are defeated, try again. If you are tired, don’t give up. It will be worth it all when we see Christ!