Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Self-Discipline: A Mother's Prayer

Learning a musical instrument takes discipline

Discipline. Ugh. Since the day I received my college diploma, I have studiously avoided anything that smacks of self discipline. A dozen years later, I still get flashes of Sunday night guilt, followed by a surge of relief that I have no homework due tomorrow!

Over the years I have managed to drop things that require too much of me, on the grounds that I don't want to be too busy. That has worked, and I do manage to keep respectably un-busy most of the time. But unfortunately, I still often take my celebration of un-discipline a little too far. I tend to be late everywhere I go. I usually pay the bills on the day or even the day after they're due. And just this morning my husband had to lovingly request that I wash up a clean pair of socks for him today. Trust me, I have paid my share of consequences for undisciplined behavior.

Since Maren started school last year, I have had to force myself back into the disciplined lifestyle. Up at the same early hour five days a week, in line to pick her up from school each day, activities, lunches, school clothes (as in, making sure the laundry is done so she has something respectable to wear each day). Not only do I want her to learn this skill in her own life, but I need it so I can get her where she needs to be on time each day. It's sometimes funny to me how important being on time is to me, while at the same time I seem to go out of my way to avoid preparing myself in order that I am able to be on time. Crazy, I don't even understand myself.

Now my need for personal discipline is becoming even more critical, as I am embarking on a journey of writing a book and attempting to get published. I have lots of time, but have to use it wisely in order to juggle menus, activities, MOPS leadership, small group leadership, bills, housework, a preschooler, and now intelligent writing time (did I mention we also have a baby on the way). Means not only declaring work time, but also planning ahead (more ugh!) to make sure I get to bed on time and am also emotionally available in the afternoons and evenings when the family is together. Talk about reorientation of my time management!

Today's Mother Prayer is something I desire for my kids, but also desperately need for myself. The opening verses of Proverbs declare that Solomon wrote his proverbs down for a few specific purposes: "for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair" (vv 2,3) as well as for giving prudence and understanding. The purposes are summed up with this explanation: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline" (v 7).

UGH! So not only am I going to have to give up wallowing in celebration of un-disciplined behavior, but I have to acknowledge that I am a fool until I do so!

But there is no time like the present for starting a new habit. So I pray this for my children, and ask that the Creator would shape and remake my heart as well.
May my children acquire a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair.
Guess I'll be spending a little more time in Proverbs this week. Maybe it will rub off on me.

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