Last week I was journalling and processing some things God had spoken, and as I did that I felt I needed to find this quote that I had heard earlier that day. As I searched for it on Google, I stumbled upon a similar quote but a bit fuller. The quote is in the above photo by Margaret Thatcher.
As I read that quote, one that I had heard before, I suddenly had this huge revelation.
I have never been that great at personal discipline. I can keep my house clean and definitely with work or ministry, be quite disciplined. Sometimes personally, though, I don’t do as well. So what counts as personal discipline? A million things could probably count depending on who you talk to, but a general overview would be taking care of your health – spiritual health, emotional health, mental health, and physical health. Things like eating right and exercising, getting enough sleep, recharging, spending time with God, praying and worshipping, debriefing situations, etc.
My revelation is that I was starting with Step 4 – habits.
I always hope habits will appear. I have great intentions. I do the research. I make a plan. I begin…and then I stop. I desperately want some of these habits to be engrained in me because I know when they are I feel so much better. I feel healthy, and I have energy. I am an all-around better person, and most importantly, I am honouring God with what I have. However, hoping for habits, even planning for habits, is really step 4! What about 1, 2 and 3?
So I thought a bit more about this, and I went back to step 1 – thoughts.
What thoughts do I have that lead me down this way of not being able to develop these good habits?
Here are a few I discovered:
“I’ve never been good at this so I probably never will.”
“I’ve already skipped my workout this morning, so I guess I’ll just try again tomorrow.”
“It’s not that big of a deal…”
They may seem like no big deal, our thoughts. Oftentimes for me, they are such fleeting thoughts that I don’t actively recognize them, but the other night, when I stopped and really made myself remember and recognize, I realised that those thoughts will never lead to good habits.
Then I thought about God and what He thinks. What is God’s desire for me?
I believe God desires for me to be healthy. He desires for me to have good habits everyday and to pursue things that are going to honour Him and take care of my body. However, He doesn’t love me any less or believe in me less just because I may stuff up one day.
So what is the outcome of my revelation?
I’ve felt discouraged in this area before – feeling like a broken record. This revelation really encouraged me to think about what I’m thinking about. That probably sounds ridiculous, but it’s taking ownership of something that may just happen without much realization.
I put it into practice the next morning, setting my alarm early to workout. I prayed before going to bed and really gave the Holy Spirit permission to call me out in the moments when I don’t have thoughts that reflect His thoughts. I went to sleep, and the next morning, my alarm went off. I snoozed it once, not entirely aware that I had done it, but the second time it went off and after I pressed snooze again, I felt that God said “You can do it…” I suddenly felt I could as well. So I quickly got out of bed, put on my workout clothes and did the workout!
That one workout is by no means a habit of exercising, but it’s a step in the right direction because my thoughts changed. God changed my thoughts. I am so thankful for that experience and for more moments like that in this past week.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8
What do you think about the quote above? Do you find a desire to start certain habits but don’t always find yourself successful? What are some habits you want to form?