Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Disciplining Yourself to Become Undisciplined

No, there was no glitch yesterday. You didn't receive a blog because I didn't write one. I did it on purpose...sort of.

I had a very busy weekend, complete with a Christmas party and several long rehearsals for our church Christmas play (at least they seemed long...working with children always makes things seem much longer). So by last night, I was exhausted. My two-hour afternoon nap did not lead to renewed strength, but further apathetic exhaustion. I just needed a break.

Writing my blog for Monday was in the back of my mind. I thought, "I have to write the blog." My other self presented the argument that I did not, in fact have to. Who says I have to? It's not like I'm syndicated. I'm not getting paid by anyone to do this. It's something I choose to do. Yes, people enjoy it (I hope! If you're reading this, I assume you are one of the ones who enjoy it). Yes, people might look for it each day in their feeds (whatever that is) or their e-mail. But I don't think they will have a problem getting through their day without it. And maybe, just maybe I needed to "un-discipline" myself just a bit.

I tend to be very disciplined in many areas. Once I decide to do something, I do it wholeheartedly, sometimes to the point of perfection. If I slack, I'm very hard on myself. I don't allow myself to relax in certain areas. Of course, there are certain things that we need to be disciplined in...doing our homework in school, submitting our taxes on time, preparing a presentation for work. Someone who performs for a living needs to be "perfect" in his or her performance-as flawless as possible. 

On the other hand, I can be very un-disciplined in other areas, and need to constantly talk to myself and make a mature decision to do whatever it is I need to do. These are usually areas that don't necessarily affect others. For instance, the gym (sigh). I hate exercise and I am very undisciplined in my exercise regimen. I don't have a regimen except that my doctor says I have to do it, so I better. It's good for me. But I keep finding excuses as to why I "can't" go, thus leading to slothful and undisciplined living (ok, I exaggerate. I'm not exactly slothful). So much for a mature choice. But you see, the only person if really affects is me.

We all know that we need to work hard at becoming more disciplined in those areas where we fall short. But are you anything like I am in those disciplined areas? Do you struggle with perfection (I call myself a recovering perfectionist)? Do you beat yourself up if something goes awry or if you allow yourself to relax, thinking the whole time that you "should" be doing whatever it is you're not doing? Can you give yourself permission to relax your expectations of yourself? 

Expectations are difficult to live up to, especially the ones we place on ourselves. It's often easier to forgive others than it is to forgive ourselves. We know what we are capable of, so very often we set a high standard for ourselves. If we fall short, we beat ourselves up and give in to the lies that tell us, "I'm no good....I knew I couldn't do this...I'm just not cut out for this....I'm never trying this again...I can't." But remember this:  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10). 

Satan wants to keep you in the belief that you have to perform and perfect. Otherwise, you have failed. However, Jesus wants us to enjoy life and be free from that performance mentality. He wants us to live in freedom---to relax and restore. Sometimes, that might mean giving yourself permission to relax your standards just a little. It might even mean giving yourself permission to fail---in order to restore yourself.
The word fail means to be unsuccessful in achieving your goal, or to neglect to do something. I fail at going to the gym every day.I neglect to do it. It's okay. I don't beat myself up over it. I just try again the next day. 

I failed to write a blog on Sunday. I wasn't successful at achieving my goal of writing a blog every day. I did it on purpose in order to relax my goal for a time, in order to restore myself. The world didn't end. 

The key to disciplining yourself to become undisciplined is to simply give yourself permission not to do something. Don't be so hard on yourself. Relax your standards for a time, but discipline yourself to get back on track. If you relax too much, you will become un-disciplined and end up in Slothsville! If you fail, set a new goal. But don't give up completely! Get back on track and start again. It's okay! The world won't end. 

Blessings Along the Way,

Song of the Day:  Couldn't find one, so I relaxed my standards and said that it's ok if we don't have one today!


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