Self-Discipline

Have you seen that television program about hoarding? I have only been able to stomach watching it a few times. My goodness, the people sent in to help these hoarders have found the remains of family pets buried under the many feet of stuff that folks have accumulated! The hoarders themselves say they can't bear to part with their junk, and they state they have no self-control over their purchases. ( I don't buy they last part, no pun intended!) 

While I don't actually know anyone who would be a candidate for a television show about hoarding, I know that many women struggle with aspects of self-discipline and building the same into their lives. They tell me they struggle with beginning tasks on time and seeing them through to the end. They struggle with deadlines, and details. More than a few women tell me they make piles of stuff that they will look at and sort out...later.  These are but a few of the areas of self- discipline today's women lack.

If you are looking to develop this important discipline in your life, I would like to offer some suggestions I found. They are of course not the total answer to a life that lacks self-discipline, but they are certainly practical things you can begin to put into your life on a daily basis.

Many women tell me they are simply overwhelmed by the task of cleaning a whole house in a day. Usually this is because they have too many piles of stuff, bursting closets, and baskets of laundry that need attention. I suggest you start small, with the goal of putting one room in order in the span of several days or a week, depending on how truly out of order it is.  Once you get that one room cleaned and organized make the goal to keep it that way. This means you will have to learn to put things away right away when you are finished with them.  Room by room, follow this pattern, cleaning and keeping clean and before you know it your home will be clean and ready for guests with only short notice.

Some women like to do the hardest job first. They choose the worst and messiest room to tackle because it gives them a sense of accomplishment and then the rest of the things to do are easy! Other women like the sense of immediate gratification they get when several rooms are cleaned or several easier chores are done before tackling those really big and tough things. Neither one is wrong, it is personal preference. The point is, just do it!

A huge issue these days is one of timeliness. It seems people think nothing of being late for all sorts of important events, including church, weddings, meals where they are the invited guests, and even work.  Being habitually tardy is a huge clue that you lack self-discipline. Being late is the result of poor planning, and/or indulging your desires. It is truly a heart issue! When you live "fashionably late" you are revealing that the idol of your heart is you. You are telling the world by your actions that you believe you are more important than anyone else, and that you are worthy of being waited for.

You can avoid habitual lateness from a practical perspective by planning how you will use your time. Use the electronic one on your phone or computer, or good old pencil and paper. Once you make a commitment to be somewhere, stick to it! Plan to be at least 5 minutes early to an event.  By the way, a lack of planning will cause you to live as though your life runs you rather than you running your life.

Learn to tell yourself "no." Especially learn to say "no" to the feelings that lead to self-indulgence and laziness. Deny yourself the extra 5 or 10 minutes in bed or in front of the television or at the mall when you know you have a time deadline. Deny yourself the extra brownie or scoop of ice cream if you have a weight issue. Learn to say "yes" to things you don't necessarily like, but you know are good for you like exercise, fruits and vegetables, healthy treats and so on. Mastering your body and making it obey is a good first step toward self-discipline.

Finally, be open to constructive criticism and correction. When someone offers you correction, welcome it and them into your life. These are those iron sharpening iron moments that you may come to cherish in time. Someone loves you and cares enough about you to want to help you to grow and change and become more like the Lord Jesus Christ.