Discipline teaches us to operate by principle rather than desire.
Saying no to our impulses (even the ones that are not inherently sinful)
puts us in control of our appetites rather than vice versa. It deposes
our lust and permits truth, virtue, and integrity to rule our minds instead.
John F. MacArthur Jr.
Since I first heard about it, I've always liked the idea of choosing a specific word to help define and focus your thoughts and actions for the year. I've not, however, actually done so. Until now. For so long, my focus — my purpose — was my family. Now that I'm no longer the primary provider and protector for any of them, my life has been a bit, well, out of focus. So, yeah. I need a catalyst. Sort of a personal mission statement, if you will, to keep me on track. So I've chosen a word for this year.
I'm plastering it everywhere to keep it in the very forefront of my mind. I'm going to start my day by asking how it can and/or should affect my actions, emotions, thoughts, and relationships that day and by asking God to help keep my focus on those things. And I'm going to be reminded of it all through the day. I need to be.
There are far too many areas in life — physical, interpersonal, spiritual, and others — in which I've gotten rather complacent lately. And that's not good. Not good at all. I've lost focus on some things that are pretty important and need to rebuild some habits that I've neglected for too long. And in some cases, I need to break some habits that I've let creep in and take over. I know it's not a panacea by any means but my hope is that doing this will help me on both of those fronts just by making me actually consider and examine my actions more closely rather than drop into my comfortable routine.
So, Happy New Year, dear readers. Raise your glass of whatever — or coffee mug, in my case — and join me in my personal toast. Here's to a new year. Here's to allowing God to break down the old me. Here's to creating a firmer foundational structure upon which better things can be built. Here's to 2018!
And here's to discipline.