When I entered the word discipline into thesaurus.com, these are the words listed as antonyms:  


Chaos?  I don’t want any of that in my life.
Confusion?  I’m usually confused enough, thanks.
Disorder and disorganization. . . . . . . Let’s remove the prefix “dis” and I’ll be good.
Neglect.  Am I neglecting things?  Of course. . . 
Negligence.  That sounds worse than neglect.
Permissiveness.  Have I let myself get permissive with myself?  That’s a lot to think about! Yet when I ask myself if I’ve been permissive with myself, myself says, “Don’t be so hard on yourself.”  So I guess I am permissive.  And [see above] now confused.

Discipline can be a rather ugly word.  And it’s hard to apply to oneself, because honestly, who wants to be hard on oneself?  Other people can be hard enough on us.  But it’s a word I’ve been thinking on a lot lately.  One of my favorite books is Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster.  I read it years ago, a couple of times.  I probably should just continuously read it, over.and.over.and.over.  Because it’s helpful and it’s applicable and it’s good. 

When I look at the synonyms for discipline, the one that sticks out like crazy is:

Self-control can be difficult.  Maybe it’s not for you, but it is for me.  At least regarding some things. Self-control is one of my {words to live by}.  It takes self-control to motivate oneself to exercise and to not eat way too much brownie batter and to go to bed before midnight.  Yet it also takes self-control to keep my mouth shut when it’s best to be quiet and it takes self-control to not let anxiety get the best of me when I wonder if my workplace’s funding will come through  [once again I’m in the midst of a workplace situation where the feds decided to cease the funding].

Discipline is what I need when I want to take all our money out of an atm, pick up the family, retrieve our passports, and head for Timbuktu [or Prague] via Blue Grass Airport.  Okay, maybe that’s not so much discipline as a firm grasp of reality.  Yet, despite my motivation to run with my daughter as we prepare for a 5K, and my practice of cleaning our bathroom once a week, I need more [much more] discipline in my life.  

I want to:

  • spend time with God 
  • make time to write
  • walk my dog
  • say “good-bye” to tv and “hello” to more books
  • stop eating processed food, fast food, unhealthy food, etc. [I’m still new at the vegetarian thing]
  • sit on my front porch
  • pursue relationships with people [some particular people; not ALL people]
  • exercise on a regular basis
  • do yoga 

I confess I was once much better at leading a disciplined life.  But stuff has gotten in the way.  So I’ll push it aside and become more of who I want to be.

And I’ll remember the above saying, striving to “do” what’s important and impactful, but not strive to do everything.  Because striving to do everything/be everything/permit everything is the recipe for:


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