Monday, April 19, 2010


self- noun
Me, Myself, and I
(definition care of ME)

discipline- verb
10. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
11. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
12. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.
(definition care of

Those two words taste bitter coming out of my mouth- they have become so foreign to me over the past few years. With five children so young and a husband in seminary, I have become very good at routines and systems, which are wonderful tools in and of themselves. They promote order and order is truly a Godly pursuit. All through the Bible, God desires and creates order. By creating routines and systems for our family, I can alleviate some of the chaos, by applying patterns of behavior that bring everyone under one goal and purpose. The problem is that I have allowed these systems to appease the part of my heart that the Lord created to desire my OWN standard of behavior. (I hope that makes sens outside of my own head.)

Instead of continuing to interpret my own thoughts, which can sometimes get foggy even for ME, here are some of the areas of my life that I need "to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control".

1. My weight: No big explanation needed here. I need to lose some weight. period. Several of these following areas contribute to this one. For the last few weeks, I have added a lot of exercise and am upping it each week it seems, so I feel like I am off to a good start. The missing link for me here is long-haul accountability. Nathan knows my heart and my desire, but it isn't fair for me to ask him to hold me accountable in this area. He loves me too much and doesn't want to be the bad guy in this. Honestly, I don't want him to be either. I am praying for wisdom to find this accountability. In the past, I have done WONDERFULLY...for a season. Then I fail and undo everything I have done. I think gaining self-discipline in the area will mean seeking strength form the Lord to continue past the plateaus and stretches that normally cause me to jump ship.

So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:26-27

2. Getting appropriate SLEEP : Ugh. this one SOUNDS simple. It sounds simple when I am sitting here at 4:35pm. At 10:00PM, however, when Nathan has just walked in the door from class and we haven't had 2 minutes to communicate all day OR (honesty alert!) one of "my shows" is coming on, I find it hard to tear myself away and head to bed. No matter how I attempt justify it, I am not getting enough sleep. I cannot support my body and the schedule that is needed to support my LIFE on so few hours of sleep. Because I stay up too late, I am sleepy during the day, my eating schedule is off (see above), I run out of energy before i run out of tasks, and I don't get to sleep well when I finally DO submit to rest. I feel like a toddler even struggling with this, but it is a struggle for me. Sheesh.

It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2

(for the record, this type of list-making is daunting, but I am excited about checking some of these things off in the future. Without a list, no checking off can happen!)

3. Accurate and Godly Priorities: Everything else can be summed up with this one heading. I need to do a better job of prioritizing my life- particularly where my energy is spent in any given day. Too many outside activities, too many "yes's", too many play dates, and (unfortunately) too much TV can make for a messy house, children that are lacking in their OWN discipline, and a husband who feels neglected all together. I feel this is something that I have always had a good eye on, thanks to Godly women in my life at times, but lately I have not been keeping a watchful eye on my schedule and Nathan and I have both realized our error. We are making some changes and moving towards the goal of eliminating a lot from our tasks list next year, while still serving the Lord sacrificially. It is a fine, fine line to find that balance. We are not called to sit back and let others serve exclusively. We are also not called to put our name on every blank line on a sign-up sheet that passes our lap. Furthermore, it is in the pursuit of those things that ARE NOT in accordance with what God has given me to do in direct competition with those that He DOES intend for me that I find the most frustration! (see above...and above again!) The beauty comes in discovering which blanks that Lord has already filled in with my name and then doing THOSE tasks to His Glory. With this area of my life, I can't just stop EVERYTHING right now, as I have commitments that need to be followed through. However, BIG changes are coming around August for us in this area. Until then, I am praying for wisdom to take things one day at a time, doing only what I am capable of and without guilt for those that I cannot.
According to the commandment of the Lord through Moses they were listed, each one with his task of serving or carrying. Numbers 4:49

My Homework-

Spiritually speaking:I don't intend to be able to change any of these areas of my life by my own power. I am not strong enough. I am DAILY asking the Lord to help me and I am exposing them to as much LIGHT as I can, so that I cannot shirk way from them when the going gets tough...and it WILL get tough.

Practically speaking: These things are being printed and listed on my fridge. I don't want to spend my days thinking about ME and how to change ME. That is a selfish path to take. Instead, I just want to reminder (on the fridge) that I will occasionally see and be reminded of this pursuit. I am making excercise and eating well a priority. I am going to go back to something I did when I had only two babies and FAR less on my schedule, which was to hang a sign on my computer and TV that reads "Have you finished you job? If not, you are chosing THIS over your family." (I have never been one for subtle.) Nathan and I are setting aside some time, weekly, for just us- not school, not church duties, not children- just. us. I think this will help me not feel like I have to wait up for him from class so many nights of the week.

Can you relate to any of these? How do YOU deal with them?


Joy for the Seasons said...

You know what I love about your check list? It looks a lot like mine should. You did that part of the job for me. :) Now I need to do some follow through on my own (well, with God's help!). For me, sifting through all the good things to determine what are the BEST things for me to be doing is a challenge. This is one that I truly have been working on for the past 5 years. I am getting better one year at a time. Would love to check in with you time to time about all this!

hmpowell said...

First let me say you are NOT the only mamma dealing with these issues. I too have been struggling with these exact same issues.

After having to endure a "false menopause"(to correct a fertility issue), and then 3 pregnancies in 3 years my metabolism is shot and my weight has ballooned to unimagineable(at least by me ;)) proportions. I'm currently correcting this, although(so far at least) this is an uphill climb.

With the sleep issue, at this time, I'm not able to do much to aleivate my exaustion. My youngest is just 5 months old and not sleeping through the night yet. My goal here is to have a "nap time" for myself everyday. Some days I just rest in my bed and others I pass completely out.

For adjusting my priorities I've decided to start small. I asked my Father to refine me into the Proverbs 31 woman I deeply desire to become. His first instruction was to take better care of my self not only physically but emotionally, and spiritually as well. That way I am better equipped to minister to my family. So far I have seen wonderfull improvement in this area. My husband is happier and no longer feels neglected. My daughters seem more content and happy. Best of all my autistic son is showing improved eye contact, social interaction, and verbal skills.

I hope this helped and encouraged you. I'll be praying for you.

Ronnica said...

I too am recommitting myself to getting healthy this week. I know that I'm going to hear a "why haven't you been working on this?" from my doctor next week in a disproving tone. But now that my busy season (at least in theory) is behind me, I'm going to start laying, once again, the foundations for healthy living. I find it hard because it's way too easy to self-indulge (sure, go ahead and have that ice cream...and today's been too busy for exercise).

I know I feel better when I'm practicing self-discipline (in this area and in others). While my feelings shouldn't be my motivation, they are a good incentive!

Praying for you, Angela, as you work on self-discipline and prioritizing!

Angela said...

Thank you for sharing with me ladies. I will be praying for each of you also.

My sweet Thursday walking friends and I discussed some of these topics today and we came to the conclusion that it is time to MAKE WAR against the sins like these that creep in and choke the life out of our life! SO, that is what I am declaring today. WAR!!!!!

(about to post about some lessons learned in the garden today.)

Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Angela, LOVED this post. I stopped by to say howdy and see how things were going. LOVED LOVED LOVED your post on self-discipline too.

Why is self-control the fruit of the spirit that tastes bitter to me? ugh.

Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Angela, LOVED this post. I stopped by to say howdy and see how things were going. LOVED LOVED LOVED your post on self-discipline too.

Why is self-control the fruit of the spirit that tastes bitter to me? ugh.