What lies in our power to do, lies in our power not to do. Aristotle
Thanks to the enthusiasm of a friend, a West Point grad, I spent a good deal of last year watching three West Point grads work to become the first female Rangers, a military designation few accomplish. Now between family connections and WWII research, I know the discipline it takes to be in the military in the first place. Sure, a system is in place to give structure, formed by tradition and time. But like good old ancient Aristotle says, if we have the power to do something, we have the same ability to make excuses, grate against leadership, do things that get us kicked out. Apparently people have been struggling with discipline for a long time.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]I know the Holy Spirit gives me the power to move forward and the love of myself and my body. So it stands, God gives me discipline as well. I just choose to ignore it and God.[/pullquote]Every year, plenty of women AND men drop out of the Ranger course, never to complete it. The women who became the first to make it through a course involving extreme physical trials, swamps, mountains, and peer review? It took extreme discipline and self-control to get them there. No slacking off at the gym. No whining about long marches and bad weather. No binge eating when the stress of it all got to be too much. Pure mental fortitude, grit, and discipline got them to their goal.
I know what you’re thinking. I’m not in the military. I don’t slog through swamps or hold my breath going down a road in Afghanistan. But I do fight plenty of battles. I have a central nervous system condition that’s causing my muscles to waste away. I’ve managed to cut caffeine out of my life but sugar is my drug of choice. I pray without ceasing but need the discipline of writing to really focus on the Word of God. I need to exercise more, cut out the Hershey’s kisses, and add different ways of studying the Bible. All these things take the discipline I seem to be short on these days.
For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 NASB
Where a lot of us fall down when it comes to discipline is the timidity thing, the FEAR thing. Me? I’m a perfectionist. I worry about failure. What if I don’t get my legs back in the shape of a twenty year old me? What if I don’t lose fifteen pounds before my daughter’s wedding? What if I decide to go back to being employed by someone other than myself and can’t find a job?
I know the Holy Spirit gives me the power to move forward and the love of myself and my body. So it stands, God gives me discipline as well. I just choose to ignore it and God. Do not I, as Yoda would say. Why? It took me a bit but the AHA! hit the normally self-starting me. Because of faith-stealing fear.
So the next time I don’t do an exercise, I’m going to ask myself if I’m really just worried it won’t strengthen my muscles and I’ll limp forever. Ready to raid the Valentines candy aisle at Target? I’ll ask why I’m scared to lose weight and of being healthier. Not digging into the Bible? What am I afraid God will tell me? The questioning exercises, like strength building exercises at the gym, will build my self-discipline to fight my battles, thanks to the power of God.
What are the battles requiring discipline in your life? What causes you to lapse in disciplined parts of your life?