A Little Help with Self-Discipline


Red and White Alarm Clock Displaying 9:11

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

~Philippians 2:13  (New Living Translation)

If the above is true, why, then, do I race out of the front door every morning, my little Prius roaring down the street, just barely getting my kids to school and my own tail to work on time?! If it were just an occasional tardiness then, that would be one thing, but every morning? Really, Whitney?

The alarm goes off. I hit snooze repeatedly until it’s too late. I may or may not curse as I finally tear off the covers realizing the time and that (surprise!) I’m behind schedule. I grab hangers from the closet, throwing clothes on the bed, hurriedly trying to find something to wear. All the while, I’m cursing myself for not picking picking out my clothes the night before.

I’m barking orders at the kids, simultaneously snipping at their heels and sending them to time out because they’re distracting each other from getting dressed and just not moving fast enough.

I finally make it to the kitchen where I quickly abandon any hope I had of packing my lunch, again annoyed at myself for spending money on lunch that I could have saved had I taken the time to pack my lunch the night before. I ultimately end up shoving a bag of apple slices in my kids’ hands as we tumble out the door on the way to school and work.

Surely, God in his omnipotence can help me change this all-too-common scene at my house. And I know I can’t be the only one, right? Don’t you have the one thing, or maybe multiple things, that you do over and over that you don’t want to? You tell yourself that this time you’re absolutely NOT going to do that thing and then BAM!, you do the thing.

I am comforted by the fact that this doesn’t just seem to be a me problem because even Paul, the great apostle, wrote “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” (Romans 7:14). So what do we do with us? How do we change our behavior? What do we do with our great propensity to be, well, human? Paul says God is the answer. God gives us both the desire AND the power to do God-pleasing things–like be on time.

Like pretty much everything else in my life, I find that I can’t quite get it right without Jesus. I find that when I focus my prayers and specifically ask for power in an area like this, the Lord sends help–and in different ways too. Shortly after I started praying about this issue, I noticed I would often start waking up a little before my alarm went off. And because of my work commute, my husband and I now take a kid a piece in the morning, so I only have one school drop off in the morning instead of two.

Of course, it’s still up to me to get moving in the mornings. As with any change that we want to make in our lives, we are ultimately responsible for taking action. But I’m glad that God can add his super to my natural and both strengthen my desire and ability to finally get it right. He gives us both the desire AND the power to do what pleases him. I’m so glad.

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