In my studies and writings this month I’ve been reminded consistently that healthy living is a choice. It’s one of the many things that if you don’t make a choice about it consciously it will make a choice for you, and usually that’s not a good thing. The really difficult word that comes to mind when we consider this is discipline. Yes, discipline is known for what happens when a kid (or adult) is bad; they’re disciplined for their actions. But discipline when it comes to healthy living is all about making a choice and sticking with it. It’s discipline (and knowing the consequences if I don’t follow through) that has me choosing the healthier foods instead of the bad ones, the good relationships instead of those that would constantly hurt me, and the other healthy habits I’ve chosen for my life.
Sometimes discipline starts out as a fear or consequence that we’re avoiding, but the better use of discipline is when it helps us turn a good idea into a habit and a wish into reality. Discipline is what gets us up every morning to go to work or to care for our kids, even if it’s not what we really want. It’s what keeps us going on that really tough project when we know it will help us be successful. It’s what keeps us moving one step at a time to get closer to accomplishing our goals.
In this definition of the word, discipline is helpful and necessary. While we don’t always enjoy discipline in this definition, or the well-known one of discipline as punishment or consequences, both are necessary at times. Discipline is part of our lives for a reason, but we aren’t always willing to follow through with the reason or the punishment. Life, and health, is all about choices, and choices have consequences and results, whether we want them to or not. I encourage you this week to take time to consider what the disciplines in your life are teaching you, or trying to teach you.
“Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good.” Deuteronomy 8:5