The coffee is brewed, my cup filled, and this empty space awaits me. The sun is dancing over the horizon, sending bursts of orange and yellow today across the dampened and cold yard. The urge to write compels me and with no topic in mind I come to the table, coffee brimming and full in my hand, and sit. And wait.
One of the things I cherish most about these early mornings when all but I sleep in the house. Even the tapping of my keys sounds as if they echo and pound through the quiet of early morning. These times are precious to me, a time to get myself prepared for the day and to set the mood for myself and my day.
I had recently discovered an answer upon reflecting on why my life seemed unstructured and I was just meandering through the motions of day to day living. I felt lazy, tired, and unenthusiastic. I realized that the one thing I was missing most was discipline.
A word most every child hates to hear and few adults adhere to when they are out on their own. Not rigidity, not scheduling of every moment of my life. Just simple discipline to do the things that need to be done.
Oh, how I lacked. The minimal was being done but one major aspect of my life was still lacking: the spiritual life. When the children are awake it can be hard to study, to write, to pray and focus solely on my relationship with God.
So, I made a change and started getting up at 6am every morning.
Before the sun comes up, before the earth is warmed and the birds begin their song, before the pattering of little feet coming down the stairs and through the kitchen to greet me.
Alone with God. Alone with my prayer journal to pour out my worries, my sins, my frustrations and praises and wonder. Alone with my devotions and His Word to dig deeper.
Solitude is not so lonely when you spend it with Him.
And then, there is this change in me with these past weeks of disciplining myself to get up and start my day before all others with the One who starts every day with a faithful sunrise He bends and shapes to a unique design, Who has uniquely shaped me into this woman creature who just knows a glimpse of His glory in her own small life of grace. A change in my level of worry and anxiety, normally high enough to drown in but now a tide subsiding. A change in my desire to get things done around the house, to cook more involved meals and try new things, to get down on eye level with my children and really listen and hear what they are saying.
Not everyday is perfect. The hard thing about discipline is obtaining it. Many times the alarm goes off and the warm bed lulls me back to sleep too easily. Those are my harder days, the days things seem to fall apart- or I am the one falling apart- and I am just failing throughout the day. But grace is new everyday and I start over with the next ringing of the alarm. Each day it gets a little easier.
Lack of discipline in my own life will incapacitate me to discipline my children. They need me to walk the walk and see me living out expectations for myself. They need to see that discipline is not just about yourself but the giving of yourself as necessary for others. Servitude. If my children cannot see the change God has made in me what will make them want the same? What will hypocrisy teach them as I tell them to obey and follow the rules but I do not follow the words of my Father? Teaching often comes in the form of discipline, whether it is to admonish wrong behavior or to instill a proper one.
Not everyone requires a pre-dawn hour to set the day right. Some need to feel the pavement beating under their feet, hear a moving melody, read uplifting words of encouragement just to get out of bed and make it through another day. Disciplining oneself is often the hardest. But that is why we do not do it alone, we do it with God’s direction and listen to what changes we need to make in our lives.
There is a book lying on my bedside table among a stack of started, read, and untouched books. Celebration of Discipline. I am going to use my sister-in-law’s idea and read one chapter each month in the new year and focus on that one area of discipline. Perhaps there will be a post or two on here as I go through it. Perhaps you could join me and we could all learn something new, something we may need, something that may have never occurred to us but now illuminates with the need for change.
I needed it. And I am thankful for the freedom I have found in this re-charging of my mind and soul by means of obtaining enough discipline to just get up. The desire to do so has followed and I look forward to each morning’s beginning. You don’t realize how hungry you are for something when you deprived yourself of it for so long. But the hunger comes back with that first taste, the desire becomes present once more and you see the need for this consistency of soul feeding and seeking God’s help to train yourself so that you may train your children.
Discipline is not a cringe-worthy word like society has made it to be. It is a necessity in a parent’s life and for a parent’s life. Want your children to be self-sufficient and disciplined enough to take cares of themselves? Start with you, friend. Start with you.