Intentional

It’s amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. I believe that saying is true. The problem with me is that I often choose to not put my mind to it. My diet, my exercise, my faith; I know what I need to be doing to be strong in those aspects of my life, yet I simply choose not to do those things (for the most part).

The same is true with all the small stuff in my life. Cleaning, laundry, DIY projects, time management, etc. I am smart enough and capable enough to do what needs to be done, but the monster called laziness cane be quite overbearing.

Over the past fifteen months, I’ve had success in eating well and dieting. I’ve also had success with getting into a routing at the gym. I’ve even taken on reading the entire Bible in one year. But through it all, for various reasons, I’ve let it all revert to how it used to be.

Go on vacation? Stop eating well. Busy at work? No time for the gym. Make time for God today? Try to find some time later. It seems no matter how well intentioned I may think I am, I make it so easy for myself to find a reason to not follow through. I am literally my own worse enemy.

That stops today.

Today I have kicked off me personal month of discipline. In summary, I am going to be intentional with what I eat and drink. Gone are the random snacking and grazing. I will only eat clean, healthful meals for the entirety of this month. If that means saying no to dinner invites or get togethers, then that is what it takes. Or better yet, I will come prepared with my M-O-D compliant food and ensure I am eating correctly.

Gone also is any liquid not water or juice. That’s right ….. no beer, wine, rum, coffee, beer, vodka, beer, tequila, beer, or soda. Did I mention no beer? If you know me, you know this is huge for me. However, it would not be the first time I’ve gone alcohol free for a month or longer, and I know that 70% of my flabendency (tendency to be flabby) is a result of my love of beer.

My personal month of discipline also means I will be back in the gym every morning. I loved the feeling of walking out of the gym at 6:30 AM having worked out and having the rest of the day in front of me. My alertness and energy levels were higher, and it just made for being in a better mood all around. I miss that, and I need that in order to compliment what I am doing with regards to my diet.

I also plan to publish to my blog every day this month. Be it a 600 word post, an inspirational image, or a silly video from YouTube, I know I have something to share every day, and the only reason I don’t is because I don’t make the time to do so.

Most importantly in this month of discipline, however, is my relationship with God. I will begin and end every day with quiet time with Him. I want to be more in tune to what God is telling me, and I want to ensure I am responsive and obedient to His will. I’ve found it’s easy to hear God’s message. The tricky part is following through on what He’s calling us to do, and I want to be intentional in my obedience as well.

It’s all interconnected ….. mind, body, and soul. We need to be able to work on them together, and be enriched in all aspects of our lives.

Intentional

 

So I hope you keep me in your prayers and cheer me on from afar. I know this will not be easy, but I also know it will be so very worth it.

P.S. My son’s birthday is May 1 and we’ll be celebrating at every Starbucks in the Tampa Bay area that day. (I’m so going to miss the coffee).

 

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

XL Commitment

I still get a kick out of going into Starbucks and ordering coffee with their crazy names for sizes. Venti this and Grande that. I just recently found out they have a new, even bigger size called Trenta. It’s pretentious and awesome all at the same time.

So when I title this post ‘XL Commitment’, I wish I could say it had something to do with and extra-large sense of dedication. I guess in a way it does, but the real meaning behind the XL is not linguistic but, rather, numerical.

The number 40 is mentioned 146 times in the Bible, and it is of significant importance with regards to its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement. Having just turned 40 myself, I feel there is a spiritual symbolism that’s calling me to make a change.

I’ve written before about my vocation and how I feel I am called to be the best dad I can possibly be. I’ve even done so while patting myself on the back. Even though I still take pride in my kids and my parental abilities, I also feel there’s not a whole lot for me to celebrate about myself.

My high school English teacher loved to break down literature, and he’d challenge us to determine the tragic flaw of the main character. The idea that everyone has a tragic flaw fascinated me, and it has me thinking of what mine may be. Upon reflection and introspection, I believe my tragic flaw is complacency. It’s a laziness that has rationalized the comfort of ‘good enough’ as success.

What I’ve come to realize is that in surrendering to my complacency, I am failing God in terms of what He has destined for me. Much like the book by Steven Furtick I am currently studying through my growth group at church, I believe God wants greater things for my life. I heard once that good is the opposite of great, and as I keep embracing the safety of good enough, I won’t be able to achieve great things in my life.

So the real question is do I have what it takes to let go of good enough? This translates to do I have the discipline to allow myself to become greater? Can I be faithful in my destiny?

It’s no surprise then both the words discipline and disciple share the same Latin root, one that refers to instruction given, teaching, learning, and knowledge. The disciples followed Jesus to learn from his teachings and model their lives after His. Similarly, being disciplined, to me, means not so much having to sacrifice as it does learning ways to be better and more effective. In short, being disciplined leads to becoming greater.

I’ve struggled with a lot of behavioral traits that result in negative consequences in my relationship with my wife and kids. Particularly, managing my anger and frustration has been quite the challenge. I am sometimes left feeling like Dr. Bruce Banner in the Avengers, except I don’t have the luxury of being able to smash alien life forms that are attacking Earth.

So instead I’ll start with a simple premise: K.I.S.S. >> “Keep It Simple, Stupid.”

And one way I know I can simplify my life is by unplugging from the medium that I feel helps contribute to my inner rage. So as Lent arrives and we begin another 40 day period of probation and atonement, I have decided to take a hiatus from Facebook. I know that most people may see this as a small sacrifice, but for this self-proclaimed social media junkie, stepping away from Facebook is an extra-large leap for me. It is something I do with painful trepidation, yet it’s something I know I must do in order to quiet my mind and better prepare myself to hear what God is asking me to do.

Steven Furtick’s first book, Sun Stand Still, calls for us to live with audacious faith. It is centered around the story of Joshua asking God to stop the sun from setting so he could complete his battle against the Amorites. It was an audacious prayer and God delivered Joshua’s request. The key, however, is not so much the audacious faith Joshua displayed at that moment in battle. Rather, it was the work Joshua did before hand, marching his troops all night long to be in position to fight. To borrow a quote from the book, “If you’re going to pray for God to make the sun stand still, you’d better be ready to march all night!”

Over the next forty days, I hope to be “marching all night long” in preparation for whatever God has in store for me. It’s my own little sabbatical, and I know that through it all, the experience will be great(er).

discipline