Saturday, November 3, 2012

Discipline: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger

Discipline-it's a dirty word. I think most people probably struggle with it to some degree and I'm no exception. Discipline will either make or break you. With it the unattainable becomes a little closer. Without it the cart runs away with the horse and they both run over you!

Personally I'm very disciplined about certain things and really struggle with others. For example, I'm very disciplined about making sure bills are paid on time and appointments/commitments are scheduled properly and kept. However, avoiding multiple trips to the cupcake shop a week: FAIL. Similarly, exercising regularly: EPIC FAIL!

In fact, the things I'm most disciplined about are usually directly related to comfort, ease and pleasure. According to Proverbs, I'm stupid (Proverbs 12:1 ) and destined to poverty and shame (Proverbs 13:18). Okay, that's a very literal interpretation. I'm so thankful for grace and mercy! But, all kidding aside flip over to Hebrews (Heb. 12:11) and you'll find the synapsis on discipline.

" No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." (Hebrews 12:11, NIV)

As with all God things, I'm able to see a paradigm with the kids' struggle with discipline. Just like adults, they pull out ALL the stops to avoid correction. Not only do I see the pattern, but I'm left wondering in amazement: How does God put up with our crap? How does he time and time again, give another chance? Of course, I know the answer, but it's just beyond comprehension-as it should be.

Before having kids, I never imagined how difficult and exhausting it would be to instill discipline. I'm talking exhaustion on a cellular level, if that's possible. Training children is HARD WORK! Being consistent, balancing rewards with consequences, all while keeping a cool, level head….whew! In the words of my grandmother, "It's more than a notion". Some days I think it'd be easier to dig a tunnel to Indonesia and smuggle in an entire herd of goats to start up a goat farm!

On particularly difficult days where I've talked someone down off the ledge because they want pizza for dinner (again) instead of beef stew, or they want to play for two hours after school instead of doing homework, I totally understand why some parents serve their kids Easy Mac every night for dinner and let them bathe on the even nights.

After struggling every step of the way to avoid being the last person out of the school parking lot (again), or going through last minute wardrobe changes five minutes before it's time to leave for school every morning (despite having picked out and ironed all clothes at the beginning of the week), I totally 'get' why some parents let their kids sleep in their clothes the night before school and have play dates every evening.

IT'S EASIER! No judgement! *With ten years under the parenting belt, I can easily say that the first thing to go when you become a parent is the judgement of other parents.

But, having said all of this (and I know it's a mouthful), I can't help but be redirected back to Hebrews 12:11. The words that stand out are: not pleasant, painful, harvest, righteousness, peace, trained. I could REALLY use a harvest of righteousness and peace, so I guess that means I must stay the course! No matter how painful and unpleasant, I'm keeping the end goal in sight.

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