Core Value #5 – Discipline


DisciplineDiscipline is something I value. There are things in my life I am disciplined in, but as I have thought about this more I have come to the realization that this value is not always displayed in my actions. In other words, I need more discipline in my life.

What is discipline? My laptop gives me the following definitions: Punishment, Self-Control, Regulation, Subject, Punish, Instruction, Correction, Chastisement, Castigation, & Persuasion

I think we are all pretty familiar with the concept of discipline as a punishment. That doesn’t require a whole lot of discussion. Sometimes that discipline is delivered well, and sometimes, not so much. I told my kids I loved them too much to not discipline them, and in the moment they probably thought I was lying, but now that they are older they are starting to see what my wife and I were up to all along!

I’m going to speak more to some of the other aspects of discipline: Self-Control/ Regulation and Instruction/Persuasion. Discipline need not always have a negative feeling attached to it. We need to welcome discipline as a building block in our character.

Instruction/Persuasion

When we subject ourselves to a discipline, we are opening our eyes to understanding it better. Not a surface level understanding, but a deep understanding. We are looking at this discipline to see how it works, what it needs to grow, how it can be harnessed or channeled in a particular direction.

For example, I might not understand it because I don’t really feel like putting an effort into learning it, but my daughter does something called Natural Horsemanship with her horses. I have picked up enough to make doing the few things that I need to do with the horses easier, but other than that, she is the expert in the house.

When she goes out and works with the horses – for hours at a time some days – she is not only teaching them things, but also she is learning how they respond to different touches, gestures, or sounds. She is then able to take what she has learned and use it to make them do what she wants them to do as if it was their own idea!   That allows her to ride better, to get them to do a trick, or any other number of things. Someday I might have more time to learn more because it really is an amazing discipline, and I have been able to see how it can be tied into working with people as well.

Self-Control/Regulation

This is the one that gets hard. There are a lot of topics I can pick on here, and a lot of people too! For the sake of the blog, I will only pick on the one person I know that is already mad at me and has learned to live with that – myself. After all, we are talking about self-control!

I have had some things come up where I have had to come face to face with my lack of it. How can I write about how to tell people how to be disciplined when I am not? I am approaching this as a sanctification process. That’s not letting me off the hook, but it does allow for the reality of my sin nature to explain my failures while not letting it be an excuse for them. I am not perfect, but I am committed to improvement.

So, I cannot speak about a need for discipline in my life without talking about two things – time and diet.

Time – I get 24 hours in a day. When I look at any given weekday, by the time I take work and sleep out of the mix I have about 7 hours left over to play with. There are probably about another three hours that are used for things that I can’t really work with. So I have about 4 hours a day to do something intentional with. In that four hours I need to be a godly husband and dad, be involved with extended family and friends, find a little time to relax, and do some work around the house or in some form of education.

That’s not a lot of time to be deep and intentional in any of those areas. It’s pretty obvious why I feel like sometimes things are out of control or I am falling behind or out of touch.   I need to be more proactive here.

I am starting to think harder about what I watch on television. I have some shows I watch because I enjoy them, but I am finding lately that I watch most of my TV basically because I don’t feel like I have time to DO anything productive, so why try? It might be time to look at that list of shows and do some culling. Limit my time in front of that screen and do something more productive with my time.

Diet – Here is where things get really painful. I’ve made declarations in the past of how I am going to get in shape, lose weight, blah blah blah. Somehow, at the end of the day, here I remain – too much of me remains. Changes need to be made.

Recently my son gave up drinking pop. He has been fizz-free for over a month now, and he is making the right choices. This past weekend I was at camp, and I decided that I am going to go pop free at least for the time I was there, but I decided I may follow him on this. It’s a little thing in the grand scheme of what I need to do, but it is something.

Food continues to be a struggle for me because I love it.   Camp is not a good place to start saying “no” to food, but I am working on that. I am committing to making some real changes in how I look at food now that I am home. I need this discipline because it is going to have a negative effect on my health, and my ability to do things that God has put in my life if I don’t get some control.

Relentless Living requires discipline. I have listed my values as God, Family, Friends, Balance and Discipline. Discipline must be in place to make the others be as impactful as possible. Balance and Discipline go hand in hand, but Discipline is what makes balance possible.

I know I have some people out there who will hold me accountable on this. Some who have held me accountable in the past may have given up since they saw no real change. I hope they will come back and help me again. After all, it’s a process! I’ll give an update on my progress in these two areas in a couple weeks.

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Author: Tom Tanner

I'm a follower of Christ, husband, and father. Over the last few years I have been learning how to dig deeper into God's Word and letting it influence more of my life. As I learn, try, fail, and repeat in this process I am seeing God's hand more and more in my life and that of my family as well. This journey is long, hard, and at times a little lonely, but living a Relentless life for Christ has rewards that reach beyond me and my family. My prayer is that it brings God glory and leaves a legacy that will show His influence in my life.

I would love to hear your comments here or e-mail them privately to myrelentlessgrowth@gmail.com

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