Apathy has been RAMPANT over here lately, lovelies.
My brain has been feeling a little foggy.
I’ll be honest with you: for the past month or so, my habits have been very sloppy.
I’ve been sleeping in and not getting up when I should, which throws off my entire day. Instead of having my devotions done, a shower taken, and breakfast eaten by the time the kids get up, I’m getting up minutes (if I’m lucky) before they roll out of bed.
I haven’t been drinking enough water. Or taking a multivitamin. And I completely abandoned my planner. (I have super awesome justification for this, though. TRUST ME.) I’ve been drinking insane amounts of coffee because I felt as though I was just dragging myself around all day. I’ve been zoning out WAAAAAAAAAY too much on screens – phone, laptop, Hallmark Christmas movies. I just want to lay around in front of the cozy wood stove for hours.
I started to feel a little bit like a zombie. My hunger for comfort and easy days has gotten me completely off track.
I’d been blaming it on exhaustion. It’s harvest, so Mr. Cozy House has been working insanely long hours and this mama is tired.
Earlier this week, I was playing a game of Skip-Bo with Abby and out of nowhere, it hit me: my struggle hasn’t just been an issue of fatigue (although I’m sure that’s played a role). It’s been a issue of self-discipline, which is similar to self-control.
What is self-discipline?
I looked up the definition for us:
“The ability to control one’s feeling and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.”
And here’s the definition of self-control:
“The ability to control oneself, in particular one’s emotions and desires or the expression of them in one’s behavior, especially in difficult circumstances.”
I have been letting my feelings and emotions run this ship. And that is terrifying, because what have my feelings been telling me lately? That I’m tired and overwhelmed and weary of making decisions and being a grown up.
So little by little, all of my good habits slid to the side and got abandoned. Which is NOT awesome.
Has that ever happened to you? You’re on a good path, things are going great…and then you just get tired. Fed up. Worn out. You get lax on routines, tired of managing all the things, and little by little the important things become…not so important.
Self-discipline can be a key factor in lots of our struggles: food/nutrition, finances, fitness…we all have our own struggles and ways of managing (or not managing) them.
What the Bible says
Why do we need to live disciplined lives? Is it really that important? The Bible has lots to say on self-discipline and the need for it in our daily lives. Here are a few verses I’ve been pondering on this topic.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
Proverbs 10:17 (NLT)
17 People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray.
Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)
11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Proverbs 25:28 (ESV)
28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
Let’s be honest. It’s HARD to fight our weaknesses. Eating well, getting up early (or rather, turning off the tv and choosing to not have all-night NCIS marathons – DON’T JUDGE ME 😉 ) can be hard. Living with intention is DIFFICULT. It’s exhausting. It’s so much easier to just get by.
But God calls us to a better life than one of just getting by. He doesn’t want us to just survive. And better yet – He wants to help us. We don’t have to do it all in our own strength…He’ll equip us and strengthen us IF we let Him. Praise hands for that!
He loves us and wants us to live our best lives, fully invested in every moment, focused on Him, filled with joy and peace no matter the circumstances. Even when you’re pooped. Even in difficult moments. Even when you don’t have any idea what your next step is.
Apathy is not the life God wants for us.
But Satan does. Satan wants me off my game. Ineffective. Distracted. Lazy. Zoned out.
I Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)
5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
I became a super easy target for Satan once I started to let down my guard.
The moment I realized my sluggish attitude was due to a self-discipline problem…well, let’s just say it was the kick in the pants that I needed.
I made myself get out that new bullet journal (more on that coming very soon!!!) and started USING it.
I reestablished my morning routine after the time change earlier in the month. (So far it’s going well!)
So I’m kind of feeling like it’s January 1st around here lately. I’m setting and re-evaluating goals. I’m getting things done. I scrubbed my bathtub, people.
When I’m diligent in my day to day tasks, my mind is engaged and not foggy. When I’m apathetic about life, and everything feels sluggish and hard because I’m not passionate about making progress, and that’s when I notice a disconnect between my joy/energy levels and my motivation to do anything.
And the same goes for my spiritual life. When I’m lazy and lackadaisical about it, it becomes easy to drift along and not be effective.
The message I felt laid on my heart this week is to stay diligent to what God has called me to do at home. It’s work that needs to be taken seriously. When I do that, I’m honoring Him with my time. Let’s make the most of our days. They matter. Our time matters. Our attitudes matter.
Tips for Growing Self-Discipline
Here are a few things that help me get back on track when I feel my self-discipline waning.
Limits and boundaries are your friends when trying to establish better self-discipline I start by identifying the things that are distracting me from moving forward. TV shows, social media, and texts are the things that I’m easily distracted by. So my boundaries are: keep the tv turned off, put my phone in another room, AND silence the ringer so that I’m not tempted to get distracted every time an alert goes off on my phone. Find out what your triggers of distracted living are and try to avoid or eliminate them.
Find a good friend who will keep you accountable, a friend you can count on to text a loving reminder for you to get your butt in gear and keep moving when you’re going through a rough spurt.
Do it anyway.
My biggest hurdle is mental. “I don’t WANT to get up early.” “I don’t WANT to plan my week.” I have to push back hard against those thoughts and do it anyway. An object at rest tends to stay at rest, right? Starting the task is the hardest part. And once it’s done, it feels so stinking good.
Listen. I am not above bribing myself. I often promise myself something rewarding after a task is finished. Once I finish my weekly meal plan, I can sit and read a book (or MAYBE watch an episode of NCIS) without feeling guilty, because I crossed a big task off my to do list. It doesn’t have to be a big, expensive reward. Figure out what trips your trigger.
Get your hands on the right tools.
Sometimes buying ourselves the tools we need to achieve our goals makes it easier. Buy the gorgeous cookbook that will motivate you to make the necessary changes to your diet. Want to be more disciplined in your prayer life? There are loads of prayer journals (like these from Val Marie Paper – SWOON!). Investing in one may be the encouragement you need to be disciplined in dedicating time to pray every day.
For a more focused Bible time, maybe grabbing a new set of highlighters will be an encouragement. I’m all about investing in little things (when it’s financially feasible) in order to move forward with goals.
Do you remember the definition of self-discipline? “The ability to control overcome one’s weaknesses.” God made us as beings who can CHANGE. And He’ll help us do it. Who we are today isn’t who we have to be forever. It takes melding our self-discipline with His strength, but little by little change happens. Growth happens.
Ask Him to show you what you need to let go of or start doing in order to become more disciplined. He’ll show you.