Fifteen Days and …

Nothing.  My “one word” for 2012 is discipline and so far the only thing disciplined in my life is not being disciplined.  Seems like there is “always something” that prevents my efforts to become a disciplined person. In the last 15 days the things blocking my pursuit of discipline were unexpected social outings and a sick baby.

At one of my unexpected social outings, a brunch where I ate more than I should (shocker) I noticed a woman who I hadn’t seen in a while who had appeared to have lost some weight. She looked great. And I also noticed that she wasn’t eating brunch.  I thought to myself, that is so hard to do, she sure is disciplined.  But really, its unreasonable to think that you must go through life not eating at parties in order to lose and maintain a healthy weight.  (cue the commercials for weight watchers now). Nothing profound to say about that, just that I’ve been there and I have mad respect for the woman who resisted.  I ate her share and mine too.

But is white knuckled resistance the same thing as discipline?  I am good at white knuckled resistance. I have white knuckled my way through alot of things in my life, not just food related things, work related things, relational things, even spiritual things…  yet a truly disciplined lifestyle continues to elude me.

One thing I’ve noticed when I want to make a change or become more disciplined, not just in terms of weight loss but in any new habit, it seems that I always get to a point where its “too hard to change” meaning that I would rather “eat, drink and be merry” rather than “work hard and sacrifice” because the pay-off of the latter seems light years away. Or in other words, I can’t imagine “holding on for dear life that long” to realize the change I desire.  But “holding on” assumes that you will eventually “let go” and when you let go, you usually fall.  And the cycle begins again. This can’t be the true fruit of discipline.

But then today I saw a quote that got my attention:

“Would you rather live with the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?”

Wow. This hits home. I’ve already started the year off with more regrets than I care to admit here publicly. And my justification for “delaying the start of my new disciplined lifestyle” was that it was too hard, in a sense, too painful, for whatever reason. Excuses like being up all night with a sick baby justifies eating chocolate at 2 am, or skipping my morning time of prayer and bible reading, or blowing off the gym because I am tired from a sleepless night.

I regret, REALLY regret, letting life’s unexpected twists and turns keep me living in a state of defeat. I regret that I haven’t submitted to discipline. I fear that one day I will no longer have a choice in the matter and will be forced to become disciplined in some areas due to consequences of avoidance. Then I read this quote again:

“Would you rather live with the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?”

My answer: I don’t want to experience pain, at all. For any reason. Ever.

And even as I type this, it occurs to me that perhaps the reason why I have not realized a truly disciplined lifestyle (ever!!) is because discipline hurts.  And I don’t like pain. You know what else hurts? The truth.  But the truth also sets us free.  Free from what? Bondage perhaps? Hmmm.

So in order to really experience freedom from the temptations that hold me captive and prevent me from living the disciplined lifestyle I desire to live, I must experience pain.

My problem, then, is not with discipline.  My problem is with pain.

Can anyone relate? Have any of you learned to embrace pain to get what you want?

Some people have no choice. Pain enters into life and there is no choice.  On the other hand, I am wondering if some of us are invited to choose pain in order to receive something greater, in a road less traveled sense?  Don’t read this as me invalidating other people’s pain.  I realize that’s something else entirely.  I am just stream of consciousness processing a concept that perhaps in this season of life I am being invited to embrace pain in order to achieve something far greater.

Maybe my “one word” should have been pain, proactive pain, pruning pain, that produces good and starves evil.

Maybe I need to choose pain before pain chooses me?




3 Comments Add yours

  1. Karin says:

    Very well written, thank you for sharing your heart. What I have been learning:
    Expect pain and suffering. It is meant to be part of life. It was part of Christ’s life,it has purpose, it is reality.
    I like you, do not like pain, avoid it, run from it. It is so much harder when the pain knocks me down out of nowhere rather than realizing- yes this is life.
    So I have been learning to focus not on the pain- which everyone has- but on my Saviour. His discipline in me. His comfort. His perseverance. His endurance. I can choose to look at him (and not grow weary) or I can choose to look at the pain. I can look at Jesus and what He has done and I can have HOPE and Joy because he killed the hold of sin on me. He sits at the right hand and intercedes for me, minute by minute. He does it for me. He is Victory. He is King. and then I have the choice- will I believe this (despite what I think or feel or see). Its Him.
    Nothing new but I need the constant reminder: Think on Christ. Make it about him, Karin, not the pain.
    Not a blog, just a thought.

    1. AnnieLaurie says:

      Not a blog, just a thought — love that 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love your perspective! and I love you sister!! 🙂

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