One Word


Resolutions. I’m not very good at keeping them. They feel altogether confining and un-authoritative. The rules are too strict, but no one is watching so who cares if I break them anyway. And once I do break them, I struggle to get back on track. Lenten sacrifices elude me, too, for the same reasons.

Conversely, I do have pretty decent will-power. As long as the commitment is on my terms (i.e. 365 days beginning January 1: NOT my terms) where I control the rules and the opportunities to break them. Yes, I’m sure we could find a correlation to my childhood and my parents’ challenges raising me, as well as the battles I have with my own children, but that’s not really the point here.

How about a word? Some people suggest selecting a word as the focus for the coming year. One word. An intention. Not a set goal, not an overall lifestyle change, not an abandonment of myself in order to become someone different than who I was last year. Just a word to guide me through the year, a checks-and-balance system in decision making, an improvement on the foundation of who I am, a focus when life is spinning. Perhaps I could do that.

But what word? It would take a lot of introspection to find something impactful. Several blogs suggest starting with a list, then praying over it for weeks. Weeks? We’ll be into March before I get around to a project that complex. So, I read through comments on a friend’s Facebook discussion about this; her friends posted their words and the purposes behind them. As I read each, my responses went something like this:
Gasp! (Audible gasp. I may have woken the baby)

It’s like God hit me over the head with “Here’s looking at you, kid!”

Among all the words, the adjectives, verbs, nouns, all the intentions others are using to guide them in 2014, discipline spoke to me. To my lack of it, to my back when I turn from it, to the commitments I break because I choose to ignore it … And to all the joy I miss out on because self-discipline doesn’t matter enough to me.

Okay, Discipline, we are in this together. I’ll probably have to make some changes, give up some bad habits, pick up some better ones, and check in with you at least once a day. With a little (a lot!) of prayer, I can do this. Let’s see where a little self-discipline takes me in 2014. Beginning, not January 1, but January 9 … the date I chose.

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