Jan 13, 2009

The Discipline of January

by Valerie Ipson

I love January. The Christmas tree, showing evidence of near-death experience, is drug out, the last of the pine needles hoovered up, and furniture and home decor is set back in its proper place. The colorfully-lit tree, nativities, and decorations served their purpose by bringing joy to the season, but once the new year arrives, I am ready for order to be restored. Most of us feel that same pull, internally, in January, to set our lives in order.

I've decided it all comes down to one word...Discipline. It's one word, but it's huge in it's significance to our purpose for being here on the earth. We're here to prove ourselves and we do it by disciplining our physical selves, so that our spiritual selves can flourish. Some of us are scared of setting goals, or the proverbial New Year's resolutions, and then failing--meaning, by February we've forgotten all about them. But, maybe if we think of it as disciplining ourselves, it will seem more managable.

For example, generally every January, I remind myself I want to work on driving slower (as in closer to the speed limit ;)). It's not really the type of goal I mark off on a chart everyday, but I can tape a note on the dash to remind me and then when I am in that moment I can choose to ease off the gas pedal. I discipline myself now when I am behind the wheel and it's not even difficult. (Of course, ask me to forgo that donut, and there may be trouble!) I announced my annual goal to the family and said, It's going to interfere with my other goal of being on time. If I'm driving slower, sorry, but I'm going to be later to things, later than I was before." (This is why I'm driving too fast). Obviously, more discipline is in order.

Proverbs 25:28 says: He that hath no rule over his own spirit, is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. Cities of old that had no walls to protect them, were subject to all forms of an enemy's attack. If we lack discipline, we are subject to the enemy's attack as well--enemies of our time, our standards, our faith, our hope, and dreams.


  1. I like how you've connected goal-setting with discipline. I'll frequently do something like stand in my son's room holding up his rumpled Sunday pants and say, "Are these not hanging up because a) you don't know how, b) you don't know when, or c) you need discipline?" Then, to my chagrin, I realize how many times "c" is the answer to my shortcomings, too.

  2. Oh Valerie I had to laugh. I've been trying to beat the speed demon that lurks in me for years. Good luck on that. I set a goal of driving just 5 miles about the speed limit instead of my usual well let's just say more than that. I keep to it most days BUT it's tough.

  3. I hadn't been able to put a specific word to what my problem is most days and you just did. Thank you for opening my eyes. My goal for the year might be to have have more self discipline to get the things done that I want to.

  4. I love the scripture...and that word discipline...that comes right back around to accountability. Disciplining ourselves means taking responsibility for the choices we've made and recognizing who we are! Great post, Valerie! thanks!

  5. Ouch, Valorie. But thanks, too. That's my greatest shortp-coming, I think. Lack of discipline. I make great resolutions, can schedule beautifully, but I don't follow through. Well, at least not as much as I think I should. But finally, yesterday, I exercised more will power and finished almost everything on my list. The ones I deleted were not THAT important, and merely because I was exhausted after completing the majoority -- in order, I might add. Maybe there is hope for me yet.

    And on the speeding side, I am now and again amazed at what the speedometer says. My speed depends on my current mindset, and how late I leave. My husband, on the other hand, obeyed the speed limits. One of his oft-quoted sayings was "The time to hurry is BEFORE you get in the car."

  6. Yeah, I need more discipline. Especially when it comes to chocolate . . .


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