Thursday, January 1, 2015

looking towards what 2015 will hold - discipline

For a couple of years I have noticed that there has been a word that resonates with each year.  I wasn't sure what 2015 would hold or when God would reveal it to me but throughout December I became aware that he repeatedly emphasized discipline.   

I often think of the spankings I got as a child when I think of discipline but that is not the type of disciple God has in mind for this year.

I can see that he has been prepping me for this journey for a few months.  From working to spend time alone daily with the Lord to creating things with my hands regularly he has impressed upon me a desire to be more focused and consistent.  

As a very curious person I easily pick up many interests...and then become overwhelmed with wanting to do it all but never having enough time.  I often pick up on an interest but do not discipline myself to become good at it or learn more because I do not stick with it.  This year I am choosing specific things to actively discipline myself to focus on for this year.

In typing this I am following through with a couple of disciplines he has given me: to write on this blog and to get away with him.  Coffee shops happen to be one of my favorite places to do so as reflected by my Instagram feed.

I have failed at this in the past when I have not held strong and turned down other opportunities or plans that come along.  It can be easy to choose a party or watching a Netflix marathon over putting forth effort to do something that challenges me to grow or learn.  Christine Caine says it well, "it takes courage to have discipline...Discipline and focus are the hallmarks of doing what God has called us to do."  My desire for this year is to build habits that keep me seeking to do what God has called me for in this life.

A quote that has resonated with me since I heard it this past year is from Louie Giglio.  He says, "Whenever you say yes to something, there is less of you for something else.  Make sure your yes is worth the less."  I desire to be courageous in this next year to say no to things that keep me from the things I have already said yes too.  Right away this desire overwhelmed me.  I began to wonder if I said yes to the right things.

So to squelch (yes, squelch) those doubts and fears I sought after the Lord and looked at what he is calling me to do at this time in my life.  I know the things that I have chosen will be hard to accomplish.  Discipline is a challenge that does not come easy even if it is towards things that are enjoyable.  

As I kept listening to the podcast by Christine she nailed my bad pattern on the head.  She said that "vision will get you inspired, discipline will take you there."  I no longer want to be a person who is inspired but has no follow through.  I desire to be consistent in my focus and dependable for those in my community.  I am filled with hope by her words, "being strong and courageous beyond your gifts and abilities will take you into the promised land."  

Why would I not want to do everything in my power to walk into the promised land?  My favorite part of that sentence is "beyond your gifts and abilities."  I am relieved that the pressure is off.  Though my gifts and abilities are from God they will not get me there.  I must be strong and courageous.  It is clear to me that my strength and courage do not come from me (Ps. 121:2).  

My God rules the Heavens and the Earth (Ps. 47), I have faith that he will provide all that I need to accomplish this task.  He does not want for me to keep going at it alone.  I know it seems crazy to think that anyone would want to help without expecting anything in return but that is how the Lord is.  He enjoys blessing us.  The neat thing about seeking the Lord is that when you do you desire to return the blessing to him.  

As I was reflecting on 2014 this morning I opened up my "new" favorite books to read each day.  My Utmost for His Highest spoke directly to the feeling of shame and failure we so often have as another year ends.  

My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honour to Christ in my own person by fearless courage.
                                                                               Philippians 1:20 (MOFFAT)

Oswald Chambers gives us the words of Paul to empower us to rebuke the shame which Satan lays heavy on us and choose to be courageous.  You cannot be courageous while carrying around shame.

So I will not dwell in shame of my failures but choose courage through discipline to succeed with Christ.  I know he has good things intended for me in his will.  Join me.  Do not hold on to the past and let it keep you from your future.  The Lord has a great many things planned.  Let us choose now to say yes to him regardless of the past.

May you make the choice to receive the blessings he has for you this year!

To listen to the podcast by Christine Caine that I referenced often throughout my post click here and look for the one titled Courage posted on December 1, 2014.  It will be some of the best 11 minutes you can spend.

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