Today’s devotional is about discipline. This may be my favorite thing to talk about right now.
Self-discipline is probably the biggest difference between someone who accomplishes their goals in life and someone who doesn’t.
The main thing I’m going to refer to today when I talk about discipline is time: how you think about your time and how you use your time! Really when it comes to discipline, it’s all about time. When you want to get healthy, it’s about how you use your time. When you want to save money, it’s about how you use your time. When you want to work up the career ladder, get on the varsity team, or become first-string, it’s about how you use your time.
There are two things I want to do in this devotional:
1. I want to squash one of the biggest excuses you make about time.
2. I want to give you the simplest but most solid, life-changing action step to guarantee you become more disciplined with your time.
The scripture of the week that goes with discipline can be found in Hebrews 12:11. “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.” Or like another bible version I have, “No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening-it is painful! But afterward there will be a quiet harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”
I remember a story from many years ago. I was driving to the gym to workout at 5:30 in the morning. As I was driving I passed a dunkin donuts on the way. It was 5:30 in the morning and the line for the drivethru was so long it was almost into the street. I couldn’t believe that that many people were up that early to get to the dunkin donuts drive-thru. Some people wake up early and make time to go to the gym. Others wake up early and make time to get their coffee and donuts. It was at that moment that I realized something. Everyone has discipline. It’s all how you choose to channel it.
Disciplining yourself to do big things isn’t always pleasant at first. It will seem painful until you get used to it. Change is hard. Donuts are pleasant. Sometimes going to the gym isn’t. But later on in life that self-discipline, like Hebrews points out, will reap a harvest of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.
If we all have discipline and it’s all about how we choose to channel it, then that means how we use our time is ultimately, our CHOICE. It’s in our control. Therefore, we need to stop making excuses.
Let’s start with the biggest excuse that I hear people make about time. They say, “I DON’T HAVE TIME.” It comes out so easy I think subconsciously people don’t even realize they are saying it. “I don’t have time to workout.” “I don’t have time to read.” “I don’t have time to go to church.” “I don’t have time to eat healthy.” “I don’t have time to read my bible.”
What are you doing with your time then?
There are only two types of people in this world who don’t have time: moms of newborns, and single mothers! If you don’t fall into those two categories, then you are lying. You do have time. You’re just not disciplining yourself to use it wisely. You’re still not running with perseverance the race marked out for you. (Hebrews 12:1) You want ‘pleasant’ all the time instead of enduring hardship as discipline. (Hebrews 12:7) And, “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your own blood.” (Hebrews 12:4)
There are 1,440 minutes in every single day. Yes, you should sleep for 480 of them. Have you ever completed a time inventory for how you use the remaining 960 waking minutes of your day? I’m convinced that most people don’t ever take the time to think about this. And not surprisingly, their time seems to slowly slip away. Either intentionally or unintentionally, they trade away “God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite.” (Hebrews 16, the MSG)
“You will discipline yourself to make time for the things you care about. Show me your schedule and I’ll show you what you care about.”
Now, let’s move to the simple action step that will change your life and help you become more disciplined. The big things in life always start with the small things. Sometimes we just don’t want to do the small things, but great minds and highly successful people do! (When I talk about success, I’m not talking about money, fame, and fortune. I’m talking about freedom, full-contentment in life, and living with no regrets, because you finally discipline yourself to do what you say you are going to do).
Discipline Action Step:
You need to stop lying and accept responsibility for how you use your time. I always tell people, instead of saying you don’t have time, be honest. Instead say, “I don’t have the desire to use my time for that right now.” Or, “I choose to use my time for other things right now.” This is such a simple action step. But by starting here with being honest and accepting responsibility, you put the power back in your hands instead of acting like you’re not in control.
Here’s the reality, every time you say you don’t have time you are lying. And the more you lie to yourself the more you’ll believe those lies. The mind is a powerful thing. You need to play mind tricks or else your mind will play tricks on you. Saying you don’t have time is not true. And if you’re not honest, then you won’t accept responsibility for your actions. If you don’t accept responsibility, then you won’t be able to make change and move forward in the direction you want to go.
As I was pulling ideas for this devotional together I thought about my friend Connie. She just had her fourth baby and she just shared a story with me about her trip to the grocery store.
She’s committed to eating better and enhancing her nutrition during this fitness challenge, even during everything else she has going on. She needed to get to the store for whole foods that her team has shared with her, but it was getting late. She squashed her first excuse and packed up the kids and went anyways. Then as she pulled into the grocery store parking lot, her baby decided to go number two. With only thirty minutes left to closing, she had to squash excuse number two. Instead of going back home, she got the kids out of the car, put them in the cart, hustled around the store just in time to check out with all her new healthy groceries.
Connie could have easily said she didn’t have time. She could have easily turned around and went back home. But she is disciplined because she is on a mission.
A man once said there are three types of people: people that exist in life, people that live life, and people that are on a mission in life.
I firmly believe that when you see your life as a mission and recognize your days are numbered, you will start being more intentional about how you use your time.
You will discipline yourself to prioritize what’s important and run hard with perseverance the race marked out for you.
You’ll eliminate time-wasters.
You’ll start doing what you said you were going to do already.
Next time you think you don’t have time, first tell Connie that. Then be honest with yourself and switch your self-talk. You do have time and you are disciplined. It’s all how you choose to channel it.
As always, don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself today. And it may just be an absolute gamechanger for you and everyone in your life.