So, how do I change? Where do I start on such a long list? One choice, one moment at a time. Rather than lumping everything together into a mountain so steep it is impossible to climb, I need to take the first step. Then the next. Before long I will be sitting on the crest enjoying the view.
This will take action, not words. We've heard over and over how action speaks louder than words. Jesus said faith without works, isn't faith.
Ah, but to keep the motivation. It feels good to sleep just a few more minutes. That extra helping is hard to resist. Snuggling into my chair with a book after supper is more pleasant than jumping onto the stair stepper. And it is hard to withhold cutting comments and be patient. It feels better to putter around the house in my jammies than to get dressed and go to church. Why? Lack of discipline. And, it is a pandemic in our society.
Discipline is an ugly word, dredging up the image of extreme self denial. Life is already hard enough. What is wrong with some self indulgence? A little? Absolutely nothing. A life time? Plenty. Too much self indulgence leads to deep rooted selfishness, apathy, callousness, and excesses, which are the root causes of suffering in our world.
Wow, what a leap from sleeping in to a suffering world. Not really. Without discipline it becomes easier and easier to self indulge and harder and harder to make uncomfortable, but right choices. As adults we all know what happens to children raised without discipline. So, what happens to adults without it? Add the accumulation of all the small, continuous acts of self indulgence, multiplied by millions and billions, and I think the issue becomes clear. It is a tsunami of "if it feels good, do it."
Right choices don't feel good, at least not on an bodily level. Doing the right thing is uncomfortable, and often leads to suffering. Most of us run with the speed of a gazelle in the opposite direction when faced with suffering, if we have the choice.
My reading this morning from Streams in the Desert added a deeper truth: "For the hearts that will cease focusing on themselves, there is 'the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.' Phil. 4:7."
The secret of a joyful life in a nutshell. We all know this. I have written of this basic concept before in my posts Ego and How to Have a Joyful Mind. I have tried to follow this mantra, and failed, over and over. It all points back to a lack of discipline. I have made a vow, it is time to stop talking, and just do it.