The Beauty of Balance
Some people are super organised and disciplined, while others are chronic procrastinators who make excuses at every turn for failing to do what they need to do. Somewhere in the middle I believe is where the majority of us exist, swinging on the pendulum of extreme productivity to refusing to even look at or think about our ‘to do’ list.
Maybe discipline was the stimulus behind previous generations remaining in the employment of a single employer for 30 or even 40 years. Then, at the end of those 40 years, they get a pat on the back, if they’re lucky, a little money in their pockets and a post card or a plaque with adjectives such as ‘dedicated’ and ‘committed’ on it.
That must be the epitome of discipline and ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ because an Employee Tenure Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics in 2020 showed that the average number of years that employees worked for their current employer was 4.1 years. For persons between the ages 25 to 34 it was 2.8 years and those in service occupations was a mere 1.9 years. Yikes!
I believe those statistics reflect that the younger generations have seen the flaws in that mindset and are now aiming for balance. Balance is the sweet in-between of diligently sharing the precious time we’ve been given and prioritizing the people and things that are most important. Spending adequate time with our families has been one of those non-negotiables and without question, we must equally ensure that our spiritual, physical and mental wellness are prioritized.
People should not be chided or feel guilty for choosing to create boundaries in their lives that will allow them to have as balanced a life as possible.
To achieve this beauty of balance we need discipline.
It doesn’t matter how many articles, sermons or inspirational speeches I have internalised about discipline, it is often an area where I feel as though I can do better. I even started listening to a podcast called Atomic Habits and didn’t have the discipline to finish! I know right! LoL!
So, have you ever wondered why saying it and wanting it, just wasn’t enough? It is because discipline can’t produce discipline. The outcome we want is discipline but the process by which we attain it, is much different.
Because we are all a work in progress, I am sharing two ideals that have helped me to develop in this area of discipline over the years.
1. Conviction- When I am convinced that the task to which I have committed is significant and worthwhile, the motivation to get it done drives me to be disciplined whether I feel like doing it or not. Similarly, conviction to prioritize what is essential makes it much easier to deprioritize or avoid altogether, the things that are not.
2. Faith- This is really the most important point because everything that we do, must be by faith. For the believer, there is no task we undertake, no educational or business pursuit, or no simple commute that doesn’t require faith. We need faith to raise our children, to care for elderly parents and to maintain healthy relationships. The discipline to consistently invest the time and effort into anything, is by faith.
Faith is not to be confused with effort or positive thinking. In this context, it is unyielding belief in the eternally good and loving character of Yahweh.
The awesome position of the believer is that we already possess discipline and self-control. We possess discipline to push past our negative feelings, to think right thoughts, to faithfully keep our promises and to conduct ourselves in a manner that’s pleasing to God. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7).
The Apostle Paul also understood the criticality of discipline to his life and his witness, saying, “I discipline my body and keep it under control...” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
My biggest struggle in this area of discipline is to discipline my thoughts.
Ultimately, the point is that discipline doesn’t create discipline. Discipline starts with our faith which creates the right mindset that is then manifested in right actions.
Whatever you have committed to do, whichever goal you have set, remember the discipline to sustain it requires that you are convicted about the benefit of this act and that at the foundation of it all is your faith.
“Now the just shall live by faith…”
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