Monday, July 7, 2014

Developing Spiritual and Physical Discipline

My family and I were battling a nasty stomach flu last week and it feels so good to feel good again! You know something is wrong when I don't feel like running, drinking coffee, or writing.

We had a great time with family over the 4th of July and now everyone is feeling much better. We went out for a pontoon ride, kayaked, and had a campfire. I tried eating a s'more (because those are a requirement of camping) but it didn't sit too well. E really enjoyed camping, minus the life-jacket that didn't fit him very well!


Of course we went for a family run, too!


Over the past couple weeks, I had been developing a new morning routine of waking up at 5:00 am for Bible reading/prayer/devotions, working out at 6:00 am and making breakfast for the guys at 7:00 am (depending on Leo's work schedule). While we were all sick, I fell off the routine because we mainly slept and/or laid around all day for two days straight.

I have been reading the book Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas and the below quote speaks well on the subject of discipline.
"If a man does not exercise his arm he develops no biceps muscle; and if a man does not exercise his soul, he acquires no muscle in his soul, no strength of character, no vigor of moral fiber, nor beauty of spiritual growth."The Greatest Thing in the World, Henry Drummond
If you want to be a better runner, you need to run.

If you want to grow in your relationship with the Lord, you need to spend time with God and His Word.

Positive growth requires discipline.

5 Tips to Develop Discipline

God continues to use long-distance running to teach me physical and mental discipline. As I am growing in my relationship with Him, He is showing me how these principles apply to spiritual growth as well!
For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 TIMOTHY 4:8

1. Make Time

We make time for what we want to make time for. Key word: want. I could write an entire blog post on the excuses people tell me for not exercising. There are equally as many excuses from those who say they don't have time to read their Bible.

When I was feeling a bit whiny about waking up early to pray and read, God reminded me of those mornings that I woke up at 4:45 am to run when I had a much younger baby and was working full-time out of the home. I have always been very disciplined with running and marathon training but my spiritual training was lacking. I read my Bible and prayed before bedtime, but by then I was basically a human zombie. I want to give God my best, not my leftovers.

2. Set Your Priorities

Make a list of what is most important to you in your life and organize your time accordingly. Take an honest look at how you spend your time now.

Does the way you spend your time line up with your priorities? What time-wasters can be cut out? Which activities don't line up with your goals?

Writing this down in my journal has helped me to keep my priorities in check and manage my time for efficiently. I know that God deserves my first and best each day. Serving and spending time with my family is the next most important and running comes somewhere after that. I love running, but relationships are first. (And running with family is the best. Win-win!)

3. Be Consistent

While there doesn't seem to be a magic number of days to form a habit, consistency is key. We are creatures of habit, which can work for us or against us.

I started running long distance about 5 years ago and at that time "going out for a run" was a generally uncomfortable experience. I was entering the world of desk jobs at the time and knew that running was a necessary evil that would help me maintain my sanity and stay in shape. Fast-forward to now and a day without going for a run feels incomplete.

This same principle applies to my relationship with the Lord. The more often I wake up to read my Bible and spent quiet time with God, the more I desire to start out my day with Him every day! Consistency is key.

4. Stay Focused on the Goal

Having specific goals keeps you on task and helps to fight through the tough times when you just don't feel like it. I'm guessing that I'm not the only one who doesn't feel like waking up early to read my Bible and lacing up my shoes to get out for a run every morning.

Remembering why I spend time with the Lord and why I exercise help me to get through the bad days. When I lack motivation to get out of bed, I remember how good I feel afterwards and how I never regret waking up early to read and run.
Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 TIMOTHY 2:21

5. Save the Excuses

As I mentioned earlier, I could write an entire post of the excuses I have heard, but I won't. Negativity isn't really something I care to share because it is very contagious. Excuses are contagious, too. Are you spending your time with people who build you up or drag you down with them?

"The mark of a true friend is someone who makes you want to be at your best when you are with him." Henry Van Dyke, Princeton professor and clergyman.

What did you do for the 4th of July?
What habits are you working on forming or breaking?

Linking up at Mommy Moments, Motivation Monday and Fitness Friday.

14 comments:

  1. Good for you. I like the part about making time. Someone once said if you are too busy to make time for God, then you are just too bus; and yes we make time for everything else. The fact is everyone has been given no more than 24 hours in a day, it is up to us how we use that time.

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  2. I love that you write about discipline. Being consistent is so incredibly important when it comes to teaching our children just about anything. And I do think it's all to common to not put in the time and to make excuses. Putting in the time daily can help make every day life so much more enjoyable and prevent massive amounts of re-training down the road.

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    1. I totally agree - as a new mom, I am gradually learning how important consistency is in parenting. And I'm learning how challenging it IS to stay disciplined and consistent with my son! Great point, Lauren.

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  3. Love this post! I have a similar morning routine of waking up at 5:30 to workout before my kids wake up. It feels good once I'm up and working out, but it is often hard to wake up that early everyday when I too, can think of a million excuses to just stay in bed. But, when I get up early, my day is so much better because of it!

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    1. I read the "day in the life" post you did after having baby #2 and your day is intense! The routine is starting to feel better now, but I do prefer some caffeine by the time afternoon rolls around :) Like you said, the day always goes better when you're up early!

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  4. To make time the only thing that works for me is early morning workouts. I'm up by 4:00 and almost guaranteed no interruptions and no things that "come up."

    No excuses!

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    1. Oh my, 4 am is hardcore, Jill! I would need to drink a pot of coffee to pull the afternoon off :) Way to go!

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  5. I really enjoyed this post. My office hours recently changed (to start earlier) and I've really been struggling to figure out how to fit my workouts and quiet times in each morning. This really encouraged me to regroup and be disciplined with both each morning.

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    1. I'm glad this was an encouragement to you! When I worked full-time out of the home, I needed to run in the morning otherwise I had zero motivation when I got home (and I just wanted to cuddle with our newborn). The hardest part seems to be getting out of bed! Then it's smooth sailing from there.

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  6. Great post! I notice that I am more centered throughout the day when I start ny day with prayer/devotion. But I am still working in making it work with working out in the morning (which I now workout in the afternoon). So lovely to have found your blog.

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    1. Finding the right routine is definitely a trial-and-error process! Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Discipline is important in all that we do. Nice post.

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    1. Yes, discipline seems to be important to be key in everything - from faith to parenting to running! Thanks, Betty!

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