A few weeks ago as I was contemplating my word of the year I mentioned discipline as being an option. I tried to make Discipline my fall focus with utter failure. Actually I have been trying to develop a more disciplined life for years. Conceptually I really want to be disciplined. I want to get up and be productive, focus on my tasks and accomplish more. I want to be organized and never forget an appointment, never be buying a birthday present on the way to a party. I want to set goals, create a plan for accomplishing them and know I will follow it and succeed. Conceptually I love the idea of discipline.
But practically I am learning to accept that it just isn't me. My sister talks about the fact that she could eat the same thing for lunch for the rest of her life. I can barely eat the same thing for lunch for a couple days. I hate that structure. I feel like the walls are closing in on me to have to do the same thing forever. I do recognize that there is some comfort in the familiar and have some things in my life that stay the same. But, I love an adventure. I love to try new things. New Things! (that is what God is doing in my life this year Is 43:18)
So, I have decided to reject the word discipline from my vocabulary. I am no longer seeking to be a more disciplined person.
I was reading through Timothy a few months ago and came across I Timothy 6:11 "But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness." And I got stuck on the word endurance. Pursue endurance? So I looked at other versions and got: patience, perseverance, steadfastness, steadiness. My commentary said, "Endurance is the won't quit determination of God's servants in the face of opposition to the gospel."
"Won't quit" determination. I love that. I can totally get my brain around that concept. I cannot get my mind around discipline but I can totally endure. How often do I march forward despite the impossibility of the task before me? I keep going.
Then, for a little confirmation a friend emailed me this blog post. In summary it says we shouldn't work on our weaknesses but instead strengthen our strengths. He suggests that rather than trying to be well rounded by becoming mediocre at everything we should focus on being great at our strengths.
And with that I am abandoning completely the idea that I will ever be "disciplined". I am also abandoning the idea that I will ever be "detail-oriented". But I am great at planing, organization and that stubborn "can-do" attitude.
Around the same time I also listened to a pod-cast by Michael Hyatt about developing discipline. He claims to not be naturally disciplined so I thought it was worth a listen. Ultimately his suggestions boil down to being organized and having a plan. Two things I am good at. So I am focusing on those aspects and rejecting the structure of discipline that I find restricting.
So in summary: I am going to stop trying to shore up my weaknesses, like living in structure, and instead focus on strengthening my planning and organization skills coupled with my stubborn tenacity to endure and keep moving forward.