In a Funk
Can you believe we are more than halfway through 2018? It feels like yesterday we were ringing in the new year. With each new year, comes new goals, dreams and plans we hope to accomplish. We begin the year with a new perspective and a lot of motivation, but no matter who you are or what you have set out to do, motivation only gets you started.
Whether we have set out to read the Bible in a year, learn a new language or shed a few pounds, we don’t wake up motivated every day to continue working toward the goals we put in place. When motivation begins to dwindle and when we hit a few roadblocks along the way, discipline keeps us moving forward. Cultivating discipline in our life means, “even when I don’t feel like it, I’m going to do it anyways.”
Discipline is something we all need, but don’t really want. It’s not a sexy word that gets the attention of many, but I believe it’s what separates the finishers from the starters. It’s the difference between those who actually accomplish what they set out to do from those who don’t.
I used to admire the risk takers, the go-getters, the people who were willing to start something. More and more I have grown to appreciate and be inspired by those who keep going, those who finish what they start.
We live in a culture that places a high value on overnight success. We highlight the before and after pictures and we say things such as, “They became successful out of nowhere.” We dismiss hard work and effort convinced that somehow others have had it easier than us.
I bet if you asked the “overnight success” a little about their story, they wouldn’t dare describe their story as an easy story void of trials, hard days and moments when they wanted to give up. Instead, I am sure we would hear of moments along the way that tested their commitments and challenged their motivation.
The definition of being disciplined is having a conscious control over your lifestyle. That means when we lack discipline we no longer control self, but self controls us. Who needs coffee after that?
Let’s be real, it’s easier to sleep in than wake up a little earlier to spend time with God. It’s more satisfying to eat foods that aren’t helping us achieve our health goals than it is to make changes day after day. It’s more fun to spend our money how we choose to rather than considering God and honoring Him with our tithe.
When we lack discipline we become frustrated. Frustrated with ourselves, with others and sometimes even with God. This moment is popularly known as the “I’m in a funk” season. We are “in a funk” because we know what we need to do, but we aren’t doing it. We don’t like how it makes us feel to miss another appointment with God, and even though it was delicious in the moment, we don’t like how it feels to make another poor eating decision. But our lack of motivation and an undisciplined life causes us to give up too soon.
”For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28, English Standard Version)
I have never considered this scripture when talking about discipline, but I find it so fitting. Many of us, when we set out to do something, we tend to focus on the end result and don’t often consider the hard work, grit and tenacity it’s going to require of us to see it happen.
We must first come to a real understanding that things take time, effort and grit! We must be honest with ourselves and know that it’s not going to be easy. We must let ourselves off the hook to doing it perfectly and we must rely on the grace of God to carry us through.
Cultivating a habit of discipline is necessary for achieving goals and seeing all that God has for us. Discipline is not like legalism that makes life small, but it’s a habit that makes life big. Discipline is the mark of true maturity.
I wish God would zap each of us with more discipline, but the truth is, it’s something only we have the power to do for ourselves. When we do our part, God will do His part. His grace covers us when we mess up and His strength helps us to keep going until we see what we have set out to do come to pass.
I don’t know what you set out to do this year, or where in the process you are in realizing those goals. Wherever you are, today I want to encourage you... don’t give up! Stay the course and show up one more time!
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.