I didn't want to make the call. I just want to spend my day not working. I called her anyway, out of duty and discipline. Our conversation lifted my spirits, reminded me of tangible gifts, humbled me in leadership and reminded me of my calling.

I didn't want to run. Discipline sent me lacing my shoes and bundling up. It turned out to be a perfect pre-dawn run: 19 degrees, no wind and Christmas lights. The endorphins kicking in feel fantastic and the coffee dripping smells inviting.

Tempting to not clean the bathroom. After all, it's not that bad. Likely, if I skip it, an emergency will come up next week on bathroom cleaning day and it won't get cleaned that week either (….gross!) Maintaining in discipline gives a sense of accomplishment and wise stewardship.

The more I contemplate, the more I understand that there are gifts of joy and blessing lurking behind self-discipline. Sometimes you choose to begin the task out of duty or mere discipline but then the gift follows.

After rebuilding Jerusalem's wall, Nehemiah chapter 8 describes the Jewish exiles that have returned to Jerusalem, are counted, read and taught the law which brings them to tears. But Nehemiah and the Levite priests commands them to celebrate the holy day of the Lord; "And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength," (verse 10). The Jews left the assembly  to eat, drink, share with others and "make great rejoicing." I have a hard time picturing a grieving person feeling like eating, drinking and rejoicing. They were moved to grief, tears, and weeping. Out of obedience and self-discipline, the Jews chose to celebrate. Initially, it likely felt heavy-hearted and obligatory. But their actions started rejoicing, and their hearts followed that choice.

Time in God's Word? Oh, I'll do it after I go grocery shopping, vacuum the floors and make the girls' after school treat. Ahg, by 4pm, my Bible and journal haven't budged. I feel the ache in my heart, the lack of power because I haven't plugged into the power source. Choice out of discipline is hard, but I have experienced over and over the gift that follows the choice.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

What choice do you need to make today out of discipline? Watch the joy of the Lord unfold as you discipline yourself.

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