Why is it that we desire to be disciplined individuals? Why do we look at others we believe to be disciplined and wish that we could be like them? It is likely, that by wishing to be disciplined we are in actuality wishing to reap the results of discipline: a clean home, an orderly schedule, or consistent goodness in relationships.
Unfortunately, many of us try our hand at a life of one or two disciplines and when the results don’t come easily we throw up our hands and revert to the life we knew in comfort. We say to ourselves and others that we just weren’t ‘wired’ that way, but deep down we know that what is worth being disciplined in, is worth a little rewiring. We know that others have achieved what we desire and have overcome great obstacles on their way to an intentional life. Were those others more determined? I would say that they were, though not likely in the ways we attribute to them.
A person who pursues discipline, may pursue it for two reasons. The first has already been mentioned; that of the end results. The second reason a person pursues discipline is that the discipline itself is what holds the value, and this is where successful discipline finds its motivation. Let us view it like this: Discipline, is finding the value in a thing because of the repetition and intentionality, and not an action repeated merely to achieve the end result. Value is discovered in each moment with the discipline, by engaging the thing with purpose, over and over again.
The person who pursues discipline in prayer, finds that, focussed on that moment, it is the time with God for that moment that holds value. Their focus is on the immediate moment and on the intentionality of submitting to God their schedule, their want, their worries and their view of all things. The individual approaching prayer as a repetition will end up repeating their requests, their wants, their worries and their own views of all things, and will then wonder when God will show up to impact that list of items. These people are hung up on hearing from God a “yes”, “no” or “maybe” rather than looking for true relational interaction.
The point of the repetition is creating ongoing intentionality in our hearts and minds so that there begins to be such a difference in the depth of those times, and the peace during those times, that we hunger for it over and over and over again; even pursuing it throughout the day, always knowing that depth to life and secrets of God’s Kingdom are a thought away.
All disciplines follow in this manner: healthy eating habits, exercise habits, strong marriages, loving parents. All of these ends are achieved, not by devotion to a rigid mind, but a devotion to engaging each moment with an intentionality that leads to healing and beauty.
~ T. Brygger