It’s been a bit of a strange summer around here. I’ve been in and out, dealing with various tasks and just the general stuff of life. The end result is that I’ve gotten behind on a lot of tasks that I want to do, just because the need to do has been a little strong.
Then there’s been a general struggle to just focus and get stuff done. There’s a part of me that thrives a little too much on being busy and I’m actually more able to focus when there is limited time. When school let out for the summer, a huge block of my time became free….and then my own self-discipline broke down.
Which is really what it comes down to, isn’t it? Most of what troubles us starts with us. There are notable exceptions to that, but that’s really where I sit right now. I’ve got several issues spinning at once, and they come down to a lack of personal discipline.
I want to note something crucial, though, that’s often left out of self-discipline discussions. This is not about control. The reality is that much of what goes on in the world around us is completely out of our control. I cannot control the weather, the behavior of others, or the US Government (honestly, it seems like 537 complete idiots up there). What I have the ability to do is discipline myself. This starts with the following things:
1. I must discipline my thoughts. I am, frequently, easily distracted. It has actually taken me over four hours to write this blog post, because I’m attempting to do three other things. That’s not good. My mind keeps jumping to other tasks. If I cannot discipline my thoughts to stay focused, I won’t get things accomplished.
2. I must discipline my body. By this I do not mean any form of self-abuse or harmful actions. This is what I mean: the human body works better when properly fed, properly exercised, and properly rested. If I train my body to respond to these things, I do better. When I sleep and get up and different times every day, when I do nothing physically, then I do worse. Consistency makes an amazing differences. And yes, deviations happen. Recovery, though, is a good thing.
3. I must discipline my desires. Honestly, I want stuff. A quick tour through my Amazon.com wish list would probably disturb you. I want success, I want fame and fortune….and on and on and on. What I have to learn is to pick what I truly desire and cast aside the rest. One of the authors I greatly appreciate is Andy Andrews, and his statement was to “discipline for what you want, not what you don’t want” (or something like that, I don’t exactly remember). The point was this: figure out what you want and do what is necessary to achieve. Don’t do what won’t get you there.
So, this is where I am right now. I have certain goals, and I am spending a little effort to reinforce those goals.
There are “being” goals: being a good husband, a good father (definitions to come some other day).
There are “doing” goals: doing my work as a pastor well, doing my writing well.
There are “finishing” goals: finish my formal education, lose 50 pounds, finish a few other projects.
So, where to from here? Well, to be honest, I’m headed to a birthday party for a four-year-old. However, the coming weeks will bring more effort to be focused on what I’m supposed to be doing. Hopefully that means a bit more activity here. It also means striving to keep up: the past 4 days of high-intensity exercise turned into a habit; the half-pound a day of weight loss; working on early to bed and early to rise---healthy and wise will hopefully follow.
See y’all later…