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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Discipline - NOT!!!

Are you a who has a tendency to squander what you have been given?  We squander a whole lot of things - our finances, our time, our health.  One who squanders either uses something so extravagantly, or wastefully, that it is gone before they actually realize the loss.  Whenever we do this, we have a tendency to look at the emptiness left behind and wish we had made more of what we had.  It is kind of like looking into the bottom of an empty bag of M&Ms!!!!

Mark a life of discipline and live wisely; don't squander your precious life. (Proverbs 8:33 The Message)

Our writer directs us to living in such as way so as not to squander what we have been given - precious life.  How do we do this?  We live a life of discipline and we learn to make wise decisions.  Now, don't get me wrong - discipline is hard stuff!  And...constantly making decisions which are firmly grounded and beneficial for not only us, but those we affect through our actions, is just as difficult!  So, how are we to get to this point?

First of all, let's focus on this idea of living a disciplined life.  By the very use of this word, many are turned off - simply because it is too hard.  Yet, when we explore the meaning of what it is to have "discipline" in life, we might just begin to see this a little differently.  Discipline is a regimen which develops a skill over time!  You start with what you have and then you build upon it.  So, I walk three blocks the first time I choose to get off the couch and actually do the dreaded "exercise" routine.  By the next week, I find myself up to six blocks.  How?  I allowed my "regimen" to be developed!  

A regimen is simply a systematic approach to the task at hand.  The regimen builds over time.  The first time we try to get into the Word with any consistency, we might find ourselves a little intimidated by the things we find within the covers of these sixty-six books.  Yet, in time...because there is sufficient exposure and consistent attempts, the words on the page begin to actually make sense.  We see patterns, things which connect to what we are going through right now, etc.  

Too many times we associate "discipline" to the idea of punishment.  If we shift our thinking to accept it as a way of building one skill upon another, we might just embrace it a little better.  In fact, it is kind of like laying a row of bricks.  The first row is the most important.  It gives the foundation for the rest of the wall to be built upon!  If the row is haphazard and a little less than straight, the wall is none too stable and a little odd appearing!  So, when we set out to live disciplined lives, the first steps we take make all the difference.  

We need to take greater care when starting as our start determines our end.  When I ran track in school, the coach always had to slow me down a little.  I just shot off the block and ran like my pants were on fire!  But...I did not have the stamina to keep up the pace for the entire race.  She focused on getting me to start slow...then build up to increasing the pace.  There is something to be said of this when considering building any new routine or regimen in our lives.  We start slow . . . building up to our full potential as we gain the stamina and focus to carry on!

So, if we are to become less inclined to squander (fritter away) our lives, we need to establish some patterns (regimens) which lay a solid foundation upon which we will build a "solid wall".  We ALL face these same challenges!  You don't walk this journey alone!  We ALL have a tendency to squander life!  Want proof?  Ask anyone over the age of fifty to look back and tell you just where they might change things if they could do it all over again!  You will rarely find someone who would say, "I did it all well!"  (At least, not a very honest person!)

Wisdom is an off-shoot of living disciplined lives.  We learn to make the best decisions when we allow the skills to develop which only come through consciously choosing to take the steps to allow their development!   Not sure what God may be speaking to you about today - but if you have been squandering, now is the time to begin to develop a regimen which will change the course of your life!  Just sayin!