Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Tuesday has arrived once again.  Oh great, I thought.  I don't have anything "laid on my heart" to share this week.  Just ordinary life happening; tasks, trials and time… passing by.  For the first time ever, I was not aware that my birthday was next week.  It seems as though time has gotten fuzzy since we moved last September. So I told myself, "It's not like Take Time Tuesdays is a requirement, set in stone; that I have to post something every Tuesday.  It's not a job.  I'm not getting paid.  Guess I'll let it go this week."  And then, the Spirit interrupts my plans and shows me that I do have something to share…


This word brings about a negative/defensive reaction in me.  My Dad was a strong disciplinarian and I feared him.  I am way passed judging my Dad or saying he was wrong. This is simply an observation.  It did affect me.  It did shape my life.  Others shaped my Dad's life.  It did cause a ripple effect in my life.  And because of how my father disciplined his children, I held the same image for God the Father.  Took me a really long time to learn that He is loving and gracious too.  Not having this revealed early to me and learning new skills, I was a crazy strict and "apologize after I got really mad" Mom.  Oh, how I love our children.  It still saddens my heart.  Grieves my heart.  Brings great sadness to me and tears fall...  Occasionally, I still am that person.  I cannot tell you how many times I have repented and sought God's forgiveness for not handling a situation properly (and being drawn into sin myself).  I am so humbled.  This is a major area for me that I deal with in feeling "unworthy" of good happening in my life. Thankfully, God's grace and Truth are continually teaching me and I am learning and growing even as our children are all adults now.  I am also learning how to forgive myself (but I digress, for this is not today's topic).  I pray God is able to bring healing and wholeness into their lives and healthy discipline to them when they raise their own children (if they have children).  I am not proud of my actions or their effects upon our children - but it is my reality and it is the background setting for today's post.  Discipline has always been a negative word to me.  Even typing it, I can feel my body cringe.

Definition according to the Oxford dictionary:


  • 1the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience:a lack of proper parental and school discipline
  •  the controlled behavior resulting from discipline:he was able to maintain discipline among his men
  •  activity or experience that provides mental or physical training:the tariqa offered spiritual disciplineKung fu is a discipline open to old and young
  •  a system of rules of conduct:he doesn’t have to submit to normal disciplines
  • 2a branch of knowledge, typically one studied in higher education:sociology is a fairly new discipline


[with object]
  • train (someone) to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience:many parents have been afraid to discipline their children
  •  punish or rebuke (someone) formally for an offense:a member of the staff was to be disciplined by management
  •  (discipline oneself to do something) train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way:every month discipline yourself to go through the file

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.  
Hebrews 12:11

For years, this verse confirmed my strict discipline and it stated that discipline would cause pain. (Along with teachings from others.)  And, it was my experience too.  It is what it is.  Justified, right?  No.  As I have grown, matured and God peels away the layers of my own experience, I understand that the "discipline" in this verse refers to discipline done in love and in a way that has a positive influence.  Still a tough one for me to understand exactly what this looks like, as I have disciplined in love - but I think it gets messed up when 'fear' and 'anger' are also thrown in.  The biggest difference I see…  Does the discipline actually bear fruit in the person's life?

Ugh.  I doesn't seem I learn very quickly either. I failed once again.  Just this past weekend, I really blew it with our adult son that lives with us.  A situation occurred that I felt needed discipline, but I handled it completely wrong and ended up causing hurt and pain.  The "specifics" are not important, but instead of going to him in love, fear was also included.  This choice could lead to this choice, to this consequence, the world's affect upon your life, etc.  I could go on, but I won't.  That fact is, I just made the whole situation worse through my "discipline" choice.  I brought in too many other factors from outside the situation that snowballed into creating a hurtful mess.  Oh, that I could have a "do-over," but that isn't an option in real life.  Words are said.  Actions speak volumes.  Pain is inflicted.  Forgiveness is sought.  The wounds take time to heal.  Repentance.  Prayer.  Seeking God's help, once again, to heal and restore. 

From Proverbs 15, I am reminded, "a harsh word stirs up anger."  Now, this does not mean discipline wasn't needed.  But it is how we deliver our words, our attitude and in what frame of mind we are.  And, we all have choices to make in this life.  We cannot make choices for others.  God did not make choices for us, but gave us the ability to choose.  There are consequences that comes with our choices, but we were still given a choice. This is an endless subject to study...

Discipline - in a positive light - is difficult and we humans would rather not go through the "hard stuff" in life.  We often envy those who take bigs risks and receive big payoffs. There are those who decide to get in shape and train for a marathon mid-life… Those who come from horrific environments and do amazing things.   Overachievers. That is often our initial human response.  If it's not us, we're so jealous.  Why?  Because discipline is hard.  Really hard.  Even knowing the end result - "a harvest of righteousness and peace."  It's still hard.  We don't like pain.  We are not patient.  We want immediate reward.

I've only talked about discipline in "raising children" and behavior or choices that we feel needs to be changed.  But let's take a broader look at this verse...

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.  
Hebrews 12:11

 (discipline oneself to do something) train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way

This part of the definition is the "positive" area that is my focus for the rest of this post.  While correction is important (and often necessary - and if you've read my posts this past year, you know God has been disciplining our lives for which we give Him continual thanksgiving), I am learning new disciplines in my life and I am able to experience discipline in a new way to help change my reaction to that word.  I need to work on myself and not others.  Focusing on what I need to change about me often creates a ripple affect upon others…., although this is not my objective in doing so.  God is working in me and in everyone else too.  I don't need to worry about others.  I do need to focus on establishing good discipline in my own life.

Here is what I'm/we're working on in bringing discipline to our lives:

  • Morning devotion - Blaine and I have committed to getting up a little earlier each morning, so we can have coffee/tea together and read a devotion together and pray before he leaves for work. (I learned how to make his coffee for him too.) This also means we have to go to bed earlier… 3 days into it and it is a struggle each day.  We've been married for 28 years and this is our first real effort to make this happen.  Praying for perseverance.
  • Walking the dog daily - there are days when I just don't feel like taking the dog for a walk.  If you have a dog, perhaps you understand this.  She could just go out into the backyard and potty, couldn't she?  She needs specific exercise just as I do.  She needs social connection.  Living creatures are funny like that; needing to connect with other living creatures...  And, a smaller property means she need to get out and walk.  Every day.
  • After work walk with Blaine - we both need more exercise.  We find that in joining a gym, we fizzle out pretty quickly.  What could we do on a practical level to incorporate more exercise together?  Long term?  We could go for a walk once Blaine arrives home from work.  We've discovered it's more than just a walk too, we talk about our day, listen to each other - away from our house and all the demands that are there. Oh yes, no dog either.  Just the two of us.  It's been an unexpected gift in our life together.  And, it usually has me wearing my headlamp, because of winter darkness at an early hour, at least for now.  Dinner is a little later because of it, but so worth it!
  • A heart of thanksgiving:  Day….. ~ a year long project for me that I am recording daily on my Facebook page.  It began with 30 Days of Thanksgiving in November, but I felt prompted by the Spirit to continue until next Thanksgiving.  I feel awkward about it some days, as I know I've had a bad or challenging day, but I'm only posting those things that I am thankful for and I don't want people to get the idea that life is totally "peachy."  It's not.  I am learning to be more thankful and it is changing me.  In a good way.  I've also heard from a couple people that it is really helping and blessing them.  That makes my heart happy.  God is good.  All the time.
  • iPhone - Removed the Facebook app from my phone today.  I know I need to be a little less connected and more available to God.  Most days, I don't want to be so hooked into technology and yet, I find myself checking my fb, because it's easily accessible on my phone.
  • Less tv, more life - we don't watch nearly as much television (or stream stuff on our computer) as some people, BUT it still dominates our life.  We desire more "real living" and less watching.  We've reduced the number of shows we record and we are on the verge of getting rid of cable service too (after the Super Bowl).    

I am terrible in learning new disciplines.  I try for a while and then return to my old ways.  This not only effects my own life, but I did not raise our children with good disciplines or practices in their lives either.  Like going to bed to get plenty of rest, regular exercise, eating healthy (we do eat healthy, but I tended to eat on-the-go while they grew up or skip meals).  We home educated our children and I allowed our schedule to be flexible instead of being disciplined to get things done in a set amount of time.  I was not the example I wanted to be for them.  Yes, they learned a lot and we did a lot of volunteer work in their formative years, but learning discipline in their lives was not one of the things I taught well (or at all).  Hindsight.  sigh. And while I cannot undo what was done, I can pray that the Holy Spirit will help them develop discipline in their lives even as He is helping me…  Remember, God's not done with any of us yet!  Thank you, Lord, for hope.  

Click on the photo to read a beautiful post, Refinished and Restored.

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read my thoughts regarding what I am learning along life's journey.  This isn't the last post about discipline.  Oh no, it's just the beginning. 

Father God, thank you for this day and for this time to reflect on discipline in my life.  Thank you for disciplining me and helping me to see where I fall short and need correction and how you desire to teach me and transform me by Your Spirit.  Please help me to receive discipline in grace and love and to discipline others in the same manner.  No, it's not pleasant and often painful, but it will bear much fruit in my life as I embrace it and allow it to change me to be more like You.  In Jesus' name ~ Amen.

Abundant blessings on your day, precious reader.  May our amazing Lord bless you to be a blessing to others.

*Update ~ since posting this earlier today, the son involved in last weekend's situation arrived home.  We had an amazing chat and apologized to one another again for all that occurred.  In walking in obedience to God's leading, sharing what I'm learning, His healing balm was applied to us both.  Rejoicing and giving thanks to God!  He is good.  All the time.

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Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Abundant blessings on your day... Joanie