Why Squirrels and Discipline Don’t Go Together

I was sitting next to a new acquaintance at a friend’s wedding rehearsal dinner last week. She was engaging me much like I do with other people asking me loads of questions about how I spend my time and my passions. After about 20-30 minutes taking turns, she turned to me and said,

“You sound awfully busy.”

I thought to myself, “I guess I didn’t think of it that way”. When I reviewed my summer months, I concurred to myself, “Yes, I guess I have been, hugely busy, more than I would like”. Which led me to greater reflection (did I tell you I am a true melancholy?) of how I am spending my time.

Looking over my calendar and events of the past few months I saw a big gaping hole of a word that has actually been nagging me for months.

It’s a word I really don’t like, but have to pay attention to.

It’s the word D.I.S.C.I.P.L.I.N.E.

Because I am a big picture person with an infinity of ideas and vision, the discipline of DISCIPLINE can get lost.

This quote I read recently jars me to the reality of discipline, We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment. (Jim Rohn)

If there is one thing that haunts me in getting to the end of my life is the feeling of the pain of regret and disappointment in what I choose day to day. I realize that I am not very good at self-discipline. Looking back this summer over the crowded spaces in my calendar and then looking ahead, I discovered that discipline has to be a part of the picture. The consequence if it isn’t, I will be living in the excruciating pain of regret not just at the end but now.

As I was chatting with God about this and myself, I had to admit that I totally “suck” at discipline. I am good with short bursts and projects that have a beginning and an end, but am terrible at the long term discipline to keep the momentum moving forward of my passions and purpose. I get distracted, derailed and yes, “oops there’s a squirrel” as the saying goes.

What are my squirrels of distraction?

Other people’s vision, so exciting, how can I help?

Melancholy discontent.

Shopping for stuff I really don’t need.

Wasting time on the internet.

Signing up for too many worthy studies.

Taking on good projects.

Need I continue further? Part of discipline is being disciplined enough to recognize I must make careful choices to focus on exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Helping others is important but if I am spending 90% of my time helping others reach their goals and mine are forgotten, then that becomes a distraction.

September is always a good month to evaluate and right now, my calendar is open on my table and I am doing a much needed review and putting those fun-loving squirrels of distraction in their place. Not that I can’t chase one once in awhile, it’s just that right now, my calendar yard is overwhelmed with them.

Discipline is the ability to focus on purpose. To do the routines everyday that move me forward on the plan that God has destined for me. They usually aren’t exciting, they are mundane, but they are important. They are the collection of small exercises of time that are intentional and that lead to finishing goals.

So what’s needed so my life doesn’t get over run with those squirrely squirrels?  As I’ve pondered this, the word WISDOM is quietly whispering to my heart. The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom and so I am plastering this admonishment on my forehead and anyplace I can get away with.

Teach us (me) to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Proverbs 90:12

(Picture from (Alamy)  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/wildlife/11301638/Millions-of-pounds-of-public-money-to-pay-for-grey-squirrel-cull.html)

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