I fell off the wagon again…in my dedication to working out. Yeah, I’m referring to the exercise routine I excitedly testified about a month ago. The good news: after somewhat successfully ducking my trainer for over three weeks (though we attend the same church), I repented and got back on track. Why? Because I need the results and I want the benefits. When I tried to find a loophole by LYING to myself, “I’ll just work out at home by myself tomorrow” (and subsequently I saw the image of myself getting cozy with a half gallon of ice cream), I immediately sent a text message to my trainer asking, “What time are we meeting to work out tomorrow?” Romans 13:14 tells us to make no provision for the flesh; I had to shut down that rationalizing quickly! So once more, I find myself in the uncomfortable place of full disclosure and utter transparency. Yet, that’s the only way to live free, for confession is good for the soul (James 5:16). I’m not perfect, but I am being perfected!
For me, it’s not just about exercising – it’s about being disciplined in every area of my life. And it’s about obedience to God, which is better than any sacrifice I can make. Avoidance of discipline in one area just magnifies the fact that something is going on in another part of my life. God wants us to deal with the things we attempt to sweep under the rug. There’s something strangely cathartic about “coming clean” and straightening up. I feel as if heaven and earth are moving to help me get into the right position; in this season, I’m so grateful God has given me:
- a patient manager who models great habits for me to emulate;
- a firm, pull-no-punches, yet loving husband who consistently practices what he preaches and encourages me to do the same; and
- supportive pastors, friends, co-workers, and fellow church members who hold me accountable.
Each individual holds a piece of the puzzle and plays a role in helping me advance to the next level of growth, development, and maturity. “Gee whiz!” I thought incredulously. “I must’ve really tried to circumvent this process on a regular basis throughout the years…and here I am, still having to face it…and deal with it.” Coasting on your talents and gifts cannot take the place of living a disciplined life. I should know, because I’ve tried to get around it – and God repeatedly headed me off at the pass! The excuses of sticking to a written schedule being “limiting to my creativity,” healthy eating being “restrictive to my taste buds,” getting up early being “diametrically opposed to my natural night-owl tendencies,” and using files instead piles for my papers being “counterproductive to my personal system of organization” don’t amount to a hill of beans! I am responsible for being a good steward over what God entrusts to me, which often requires change from doing business as usual. And sustaining any long-lasting change requires – ugh! – discipline.
A few weeks ago, I attended the National Holy Ghost Jubilee Conference in Chicago. Our theme “For the Pulling Down of Strongholds” was thoroughly explored. I was challenged to change by excellent teaching and preaching with messages including:
“Get the Devil Outta Your Mind” (Elder Kenneth Dunlap), “Dimensions of Deliverance – They’re Not All Equal” (Pastor Reginald Blackmon), and “It’s Time for Some Execution!” (Bishop Charles A. Gibson). Armed with all of that Word, I returned to NC and still had to face ME! I’d like to share some nuggets I’ve learned by experience this month – I hope they’re helpful:
- You can tell that your standard has shifted when you now tolerate what used to aggravate you.
- Set clear boundaries that don’t blur when your mood changes.
- It ceases to be a battle when you make up your mind for real – you only struggle with what you want to hold onto.
- Stop fixating on your problem/issue/concern – focus on Christ and HIS solution…it’s custom tailored to fit YOU!
If you’re like me, you spend an inordinate amount of time anticipating what might go wrong. This is futile and fruitless activity! Purpose not to be the roadblock to your own blessings. Make the necessary corrections when you’re convicted; don’t keep going down the wrong path! Wisdom is putting good information to good use. Go forth in victory as you make a determined decision to be disciplined in your own life.
© Copyright 2008 by Kayren J. Cathcart