For the past two years, I’ve chosen a word to be my focus for the year. In 2015, it was enjoy. 2016 was brave – and what a good one it was! I got married to my best friend, moved to three cities, embraced my calling at a dream job, and traveled internationally for the first time.
After a year like that, I was counting on a word like rest, or renew, which would have been difficult but welcome options. Instead, I felt like God was telling me to choose
D I S C I P L I N E. Seriously?
Although I’m a pretty responsible person, I’m hardly a disciplined one. One area I notice this the most is in my health. I’ve always been the kid that hates physical activity. Gym was my NIGHTMARE throughout school. I was also the kid who loved junk food, fast food, and gagged almost at the mere sight of veggies.
I still have that stubborn kid in me – the one that often chooses what’s easy over what’s best for me. In too many areas of my life, I choose what I want in the moment instead of what I want the most.
This year, I want to do hard things. I want to embrace healthy habits, prioritize the important over the urgent, and learn to love daily discipline. I know it certainly won’t be easy, but I am encouraged by Hebrew 12:1-11 MSG.
“… Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. … Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! …
Only irresponsible parents leave children to fend for themselves. Would you prefer an irresponsible God? We respect our own parents for training and not spoiling us, so why not embrace God’s training so we can truly live? While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.”
So this year, I’ll be disciplined knowing that my God is a loving Father who is doing what’s best for me, even when I can’t see it. Here’s to 2017, friends!