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To Do or Not To Do

To Do or Not To Do

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?



Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
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Sis Steele

Julie Hilton Steele is an eclectic soul who’s done everything from work in a lab to pastor a church.But no matter what she’s done, she’s always been reading and writing. As a published non-fiction writer, she focused on devotions and articles about her faith and life experience,social issues, spiritual formation and church curriculum.Now she’s discovered the fun of writing fiction, immersed herselfin the 1940s and WWII, creating stories set in her birthplace of Washington DC or her most favorite place in the United States, Hawaii but still weaving messages about the gift of faith and the love of God.
Sis Steele
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  1. Diane on February 9, 2016 at 7:42 AM

    “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” I, too often, ignore the questions cause I know the answer will be the same one I ignored before! Thanks, Sis, for reminding me to keep asking and follow it up with a little request for the strength to JUST DO IT!

    • Sis on February 9, 2016 at 7:47 AM

      Just do it indeed! The good news is we are in it together! Praying for you!

  2. Jen on February 9, 2016 at 9:30 AM

    My fear manifests itself as “why bother” and “realistic expectations”. So it’s easier to not even try. I need to be brave!

    • Sis on February 9, 2016 at 12:06 PM

      Bravery is hard to come by some days but so worth it!

  3. Gretchen on February 9, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    Love the idea of questioning my fears. Especially when we’re so often told to fear not. And so often I forget that instruction.

    • Sis on February 9, 2016 at 12:07 PM

      Yep, that whole fear means not having faith. We always have fears because we are human. We have faith and the courage to face them because of Christ.

  4. Kav on February 9, 2016 at 5:13 PM

    Hmmm…fear at the root of discipline problems — thought provoking and potentially life altering.

  5. Terri on February 10, 2016 at 6:15 AM

    What am I afraid God will tell me? That statement made me stop and think about my issues with discipline! What am I afraid I will hear, sense, find out? Thanks for the nudge…

  6. Piper on February 10, 2016 at 7:11 AM

    Yes. Fear holds us back from so much. Thank you for these insights and blessings to you, Julie!

  7. Tara on February 11, 2016 at 5:32 PM

    Well, you pretty much summed me up. For so long I let my perfectionism paralyze me in fear. What if I screw up? Do it wrong? Don’t reach my goal? Don’t like the result? It wasn’t until I went to Guatemala a few years ago that I finally starting letting go of fear. I decided to be a “why not” person instead of a “why” and “what if” person. I realized that God believes in me, He’s the biggest cheerleader I have. And by not doing, I wasn’t honoring Him and his desires for me to live my best life. Not that He won’t let me fail, but knowing that He’ll pick me up when I do. Great post, thank you.

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