This Will Hurt Me More Than It Will Hurt You

Saturday, August 27, 2011 Posted by Joline

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The canned speech.

Delivered so authoritatively by parents as they hand out a discipline to one of their children.

What a bunch of malarkey. (Not the discipline part, but rather, the "script".)

My title has been lifted directly from an amazingly helpful handbook, "Parenting Cliches: Volume One", which one now receives upon being discharged from the maternity ward after giving birth. Other downright lies include:

"Don't cross your eyes, they'll get stuck that way."

"We're doing this for your own good."

And the ever-popular and conveniently adjustable for-most-any-dangerous-situation or poor choice, "If 'so-and-so' jumped off a cliff, would you?"

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE discipline. Er, rather, self-discipline. Seriously, I'm a Type-A all the way - with some dramatic Type-B stretches. As for the kind of discipline which causes us to regurgitate the words of our parents (even though we SWORE we'd never repeat those lines), I'm quite astute at it. My children know what is expected of them and which actions/behaviors will bring out Mom's other "voice".

OK, so I have those two down: the ability to be both consistent in the discipline of my children, and self disciplined in my personal life. I have invested concentrated effort into developing daily habits which keep my family and career organized, and my waist-line trim.

Only, I have a confession.

Other than the daily "quiet time" (who invented that cliche phrase?), I struggle with spiritual disciplines. I meet with God daily. I talk with Him. I say "yes" to opportunities to serve. I am not merely a spectator in worship. And yet, I don't find those choices difficult or challenging in any way - and not that I should necessarily. But, hear me out.

I've learned something about discipline this year - mainly through the process of putting my body under a rigorous plan to get fit. No more coasting comfortably. It was go-time.

Through this, I adopted the belief that true discipline, the kind that brings about life-long change, is not a Fun-Fair cake-walk.

For all the effort I have put into training my body - the sweat, the mental fight to get it done every day, the muscular soreness, the sacrifice of time when I could be watching TV or meeting someone for coffee, I have seen tremendous results. My ways have been forever changed.

There are certain spiritual disciplines in which I struggle. Always have. Always will? Hmm. No, I refuse to raise the white flag of surrender just because tackling these disciplines will include actual exertion.

New evidence in my life reveals that I am quite capable of discipline.

So, this week, we'll take a look at a few spiritual disciplines that I would adore exploring intentionally so that I "may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

You may wanna stretch.

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