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There are several things in my life that I really enjoy -- that give me life. In alphabetical order:

  • Being a disciple of Jesus the Christ
  • Fishing
  • Hunting
  • Julie, my bride
  • Pastoring
  • Photography
  • Reading
  • Woodworking
  • Writing

All of those things help to define me in one way or the other. However I spend very little time doing most of them. It has been over 3 years since I have hunted, I just started fishing again, I have to borrow tools to complete wood projects, and the last thing I wrote was the first blog post for this blog four years ago. 

Why do I not engage with the things I love? Because I want to be the best at everything I do. If I write a blog post on resolutions and don't do any of the said resolutions or if I start reading a book (or 10 different books) and, maybe, complete 2 of them, I quit. And then soon I am defining myself not by the things that give me life, but by my self-perceived failures. So I just immerse myself in a hundred things that are of no consequence to get easy wins. What I did not realize is when I sell myself short by going after the easy wins all of the time and allowing myself to rest in mediocrity, I am also selling those around me short as well.

During a recent lunch with a friend I was challenged and encouraged to start doing the things I love and stop being paralyzed by fear. Not for selfish reasons, but for life-giving ones. Life-giving not only to me, but to those around me. My friend challenged me to invest in the things that God has given me healthy desires for and to cultivate them.  

So today I write my second post on this blog that I started 4 years ago. This post will not win any awards for writing. This blog may never get read by more than family and close friends. And that is okay.

2014, A Year of Discipline

The word for me in 2014, will be - discipline. That word has been at the forefront of my mind as I have been reflecting on the past year and looking forward to 2014. 

One of the definitions the Merriam-Webster dictionary has for discipline is: control gained by enforcing obedience or order; orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior; self-control.

When I think of someone being disciplined, I think of them being self-controlled. Being self-controlled has not been one of my greatest qualities. As I think ahead towards 2014, I want to work on being disciplined in various areas of my life. I list them here in a effort to hold myself accountable to this process.

In 2014, I resolve to be more disciplined in the following:

Prayer
Spending time praying to God must be of first priority for me. Right now, its not. I pray, but it is very sporadic and usually very focused on me and things I want with very little praise or petitioning for others. Without prayer the remaining areas of my life that I desire to be disciplined in will be fruitless and lack direction.

Bible Study
The study of God’s word really goes hand-in-hand with prayer. One of the ways God speaks to us is through his Word. Being faithful in my prayer and reading/studying of the Bible will allow me to grow closer to God and will mold my heart to embrace God’s will.

Finances
I have spent the majority of my adult life in debt. At the end of 2010, I was able to finally get out of debt and start saving money. In 2012, I had to exhaust my savings because of poor financial planning by me. I never want to be in a place where I don’t have money because of my lack of discipline with it.

Exercise
In 2011, I began living a healthier life. I started eating better and became disciplined in cardio exercises. The one area I want to really focus on this year is building muscle strength. This has been one of the hardest areas for me to stay consistent in.

Writing
For the past 15 years I have had a desire within me to write. I have started blog after blog with hopes of writing. However, I always seem to get paralyzed and never stick with it. This is the year I will make it a priority. I have a lot to share about a lot of different topics.

Reading
My desire to be more disciplined in reading is two-fold. First, reading allows me to grow in knowledge in just about anything I desire. Secondly, because I want to write more and write well when I do. When asked how a person could be a better writer, Williams Faulkner said, “Read, read, read.”

Over the next week, I will expound on each of these areas and give more insight into how I plan on gaining more discipline in these areas.