I'm pretty sure I know how I got this way. I have such an aversion to legalism that I have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction. More on that later though.
When I looked up the word self-discipline at dictionary.com, here are some of the definitions I found:
-discipline and training of oneself, usually for improvementCompare that to the definition for self-control:
-Training and control of oneself and one's conduct, usually for personal improvement.
-the trait of practicing self discipline
-the act of denying yourself; controlling your impulses
-Control of one's emotions, desires, or actions by one's own willSeems to me, self-control is something people have...self-discipline is the training you need in order to develop self-control. And training means exercise. Speaking of exercise, many things I've read on self-discipline compare it to a muscle that needs to be built up little by little. I need to lift some small but challenging weights to build a little muscle in order to handle some heavier things over time. In other words, it wouldn't help me to set a goal of "run a marathon". It's impossible, I haven't trained to run a marathon. I already believe I can't do it. It makes more sense to set a goal like "run for 20 minutes 3 times a week". Start small...be specific...set attainable goals and meet them. I need to prove to myself that I can follow through on the little things and build on that.
-the trait of resolutely controlling your own behavior
Now, I have no desire whatsoever to run a marathon...EVER...but there are many things I would like to do...achievable things...things I don't have now because of my lack of self-discipline. I'm ready to start training. So many things have been written about self-discipline, I feel like I have some good ideas about how to get started. I'll keep you updated as I begin my training.
Meanwhile, my first exercise, and the real foundation of everything, will be to be mindful each morning of the power of the Holy Spirit at work in me. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline." He has given me all I need. Now I must submit to his will. Romans 12:2 says, "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will." I will definitely do some tangible, hopefully life-changing things along the way. But I won't do it alone.
I've come up with a pretty good first challenge starting Monday. Tune in to see how it goes and feel free to share your "one word" if you like. Happy New Year!