A Head Start

I know that it’s only November, but I’ve been thinking about the New Year, my resolutions and what I really want with my life.

The past two years, I’ve had a focus for the year. Two years ago, it was Diligence. This year, Charity. I haven’t done much to talk about them here on the blog, but I’ve been thinking about them as I study the scriptures. I read the Book of Mormon looking for Charity. I have also tried to have more of these qualities in my life.

In both instances, I know that these foci are more or less life-long goals. I can’t become “diligent” in a year and then be finished. I can’t obtain charity in a year and then be done with it. They are both life-long attributes that I would like to develop.

I have been happy both this year and last year thinking about these concepts. And two weeks ago, I realized what it is that I need to focus on next year. It came to me in the following scripture:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” – 1 Timothy 3:1-5

The part that really stuck out to me was incontinent. At first I was thinking of the overactive bladder commercials. But, I looked down at the footnote and saw:

GR without self-control.

I instantly realized that this is what I need to focus on next year – self control, continence, discipline.

There was a time in my life when I had a lot of discipline. I ran 30 miles a week. I ate well. I read my scriptures and prayed. I wrote or painted nearly every day. I worked hard. It was a tough time in my life. I was recently single and a mother of two girls. There was no room in my life to be anything but strictly disciplined. If we wanted to survive, I had to do everything right. Because of my discipline, I was able to provide for my children, run a marathon, lose weight, and find happiness in the midst of adversity.

Now…my life isn’t really full of tough trials. Instead, the trial I face is that of free time and abundance. I haven’t exercised true discipline in a while.

I’m not out going completely crazy, but my life is out of balance. The lack of balance is causing me to feel upset and frustrated with myself and with my life. It is funny because I have so much, but because of my lack of discipline I feel like I am missing something.

I’m reminded of the scripture

“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” – Matthew 10:39

When we lose our lives for the Lord’s sake, when we become his disciples, then we will “find our lives.” We will be filled with the confidence and peace that comes with accomplishing goals and growing closer to the Lord.

So…I need to be more disciplined.

And I’m going to make that my focus for 2012. And, since I have it figured out now, I think that I’m going to get a head start on it.

Hooray for 2012, Hooray for goals, hooray for Discipline!

What do you do to exercise discipline? Any hints? Also, have you started thinking of what your goals for 2012 will be?

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4 Comments

  1. meg

     /  November 27, 2011

    I LOVE this post. I’ve also been thinking a lot about discipline, lately. I used to be so great about making sure EVERYthing I needed to do got done, got done well, and got done on time. My problem is that I got really uptight and went into what Aaron calls, my “Monica mode” meaning Monica, the controlling OCD clean freak perfectionist from FRIENDS. So I decided to be loosey goosey instead, and let things go. In the end, I just ended up hanging out on the opposite end of the spectrum, and rather than lightening up, I let go of responsibilities, and replaced them with fun and unnecessary things. I did THOSE things to perfection. I was still stressed out all the time, because all I had really done was replace the object of my obsession. I love having a full plate, but lately, I am terrible at balancing it. In 2012, I’m thinking about a “first things first” system to help me be more diligent in perfecting the important things, but having scheduled* time for things like relaxation and spontaneity…yup. I’m so unbalanced that I need to schedule spontaneity. That probably doesn’t make any sense to anyone but me, but for now, it’s what I need. I have found that I am so much happier when I keep myself on a tight leash to living the gospel. Boundaries offer me so more freedom than chaos, disorganization and doing things half heartedly ever will.

    What works for me to help stay disciplined:
    -eliminating distractions for the following day before I go to bed, so I can begin my day with less worries. One of my discractions from playing with and cherishing my kids is cleaning. Particularly the kitchen. If I spend 20 minutes of focused cleaning in the kitchen before I go to bed, then I am ready to focus on my children in the morning without feeling the need to do housework right away.

    -make a list, check it twice 😉 I make a list before bed for the following day. At the end of the day, I can look back at how things went and see more clearly what needs to be done (or done differently) the next day, and how to prioritize my time. In the morning, it is easier to only see the most pressing or immediate needs for my attention (a mystery smell coming from one of the bedrooms, a pile of laundry, cookies that want to be eaten for breakfast, a sale at a favorite store), when all of those things could certainly wait another 10 or 15 minutes while I focus on how the Lord wants me to spend that time. Generally, if I do those “first things first” on the list, I either find myself with ample time to do the other stuff, or I don’t care about the other things anymore.

    -try to remember that God knows our potential. This helps a lot when I don’t think I can do something, or when I am lacking in will power. If I don’t have the will that day, I can rely on God’s will, and remember that HE knows I can do it. And he knows better than I. Usually, that is enough to muster up some momentum.

    Happy year ending and new beginning.

    Reply
    • Word!!!

      I love all of what you have said, Meg. And I ESPECIALLY love the idea that we can rely on God’s will…I haven’t really thought about that before, but that’s what it is all about – taking His yoke upon us. Usually, I think of that as meaning getting through hard times, etc. But, when we rely on God’s will, he can totally make up for [my] complete lack of will power.

      Thanks!!! 🙂

      ps (“scheduling spontaneity” totally makes sense to me. I think that it is something that happens when we get old and mom-like. There is always so much to do. Sometimes we forget to do fun things like jump in puddles…)

      Reply
  2. I love that you’re already looking toward the new year! I’m not sure what my focus will be other than survival and adaptation with this special needs blessing that will be born in January. He’s baby #7 and just when I thought I had the baby thing pretty figured out God decided to change things up. We’ll experience lots of firsts that I never wanted: first NICU stay, first surgery on a newborn, first child with a serious birth defect and attendant lifelong issues… We’ll need to find a new normal for the whole family. Eek!

    Reply
    • One of my friends decided that her mantra would be “welcoming the new normal.” I loved that! She was going through a divorce and some other things, so there was a lot that she had to adapt to.

      I feel like “the new normal” could apply to anyone and everyone, too – trying to figure it out. Trying to adapt to life, as life always changes.

      Your family is in my heart and prayers. I have four kids of my own, but have never had one with special needs. Often, people say that there is a place reserved in Heaven for those with special needs. I believe that there is a place reserved in Heaven for their parents, too. I have a few friends who have had children with special needs, and the dedication to their children is nothing short of amazing. I look up to them so much. Good luck with everything!

      Reply

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