"A Spirit of Excellence for 2014…. with a Dose of Discipline"

New year’s day flew by me like a hyper puppy running through my legs….. there was no way catching it… and it’s gone! In fact, it seems the whole week was a blur now.  That’s what happens to busy people with a lot to do. For the first time in my life, I failed to make a resolution list.  You know….the list of things that we want to accomplish or start doing but in truth we are lucky if we can mark off one?
I wouldn’t say I am a total failure with my previous lists….there have been victories through the years; therefore, I always sit down and make “the list.”

To me it was always more of a list of goals rather than resolutions. You see I am an eternal optimist….I always choose to reach for the things I think would make me happier rather than fix the things that made me unhappy.  See the irony?  Anyway, having always been somewhat of an over achiever, I have consistently had a list of goals my entire life.  Haven’t you heard all the self help guru’s say that you are more likely to accomplish your goals if you put them in writing? I put little credence in those life coach experts who have it all figured out, I prefer to consult Jesus for the life coaching.   I do confess though….I thought I had this goal thing figured out in my younger days.   If there was something I wanted to achieve….by golly I set my mind to it and usually made it happen in my own strength.

There was a scripture that I misapplied to my life many years while updating and marking off my goal list often.  “Where there is no vision the people perish, but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. Proverbs 29:18  I misunderstood this verse to think that the Lord wants me to set goals but the correct interpretation is that unless we hear from God, we will languish. You see the word “vision” actually means a revelation or word from God.  I totally misinterpreted that verse for many years, silly me.

So having said all that, I still feel the need to make goals for my life.  Yes there are things that I know HE wants me to change …..in my spiritual life….my personal life….my future.  There are accomplishments that HE wants me to achieve…..financial goals that HE wants me to reach…..good and bad habits HE wants me to conquer.  There are dreams I have.  HE gave me those dreams and I truly believe when God was splitting my DNA he gave me a massive dose of  “BIG GIRL DREAMER.”  I’m proud of that!  It’s all well and good to have the dreams and write them down but unless we seek God’s will for our lives…..nothing of kingdom value can really be accomplished.

So heavens….where do I start Lord?  There are some areas in my life that I need discipline like a new born baby needs milk!  I need discipline like a fish needs water!  I need discipline like a pizza needs pepperoni! Did I mention I need discipline?  It’s funny how some aspects of diligence in my life are good….while others need a measure of attentiveness.  Am I alone here?  We are all made of a million different components that relegate our personalities, habits and outlooks.  We are fearfully and wonderfully made to be originals and being an original means we all got our quirks, our hang ups, and our weaknesses.

Now temptation is a fierce nag when you got weaknesses. I used to tell my boys….”If you make up your mind to not cross the line before you are faced with the temptation, all you have to do is turn and walk away when the temptation comes along.” Funny how that doesn’t work when I want a Zero bar and I’m trying to watch my weight because I’m on diabetes medicine.  I wonder how many times my boys thought I was a quack? Numerous I’m sure. Spiritually speaking that concept works much better for me when I have been faced with fleshly sins.  Because I fear the Lord and I don’t want to disappoint him, it’s easier for me to turn from the carnal sins.  Now if your a sex addict I guess that’s another story but one’s addiction to sex is really no different than my addiction to chocolate is it?  See what I mean about the various different components of our divine framework?  We all got our own quirks, hang ups and weaknesses…. bad habits…..bad thoughts….bad anything if it keeps us from living out our divine purpose. 

So this year I don’t think it was no slip of mind that I didn’t have time to make “the list.” God has been specifically speaking to me about two very “big verbs….discipline and excellence.”  It started a few months ago while I was preparing for the Christmas play at church.  My mindset is to always ask myself….”What can I do to make this production better?”  I strive for a certain level of excellence in the Drama ministry because I am so passionate about the cause.  But what if I lived out every area of my life with excellence?  How pleasing would that be to my Jesus?  What if I took my diet and health more serious? This discipline probably would extend my life so that I could be used further for his kingdom. What if I got a little more organized now that my nest is almost empty? What if I spent more time honing talents?  What if I did my laundry on a set day instead of when I run out of clean underwear?  (I detest doing laundry) What if I spent more time in prayer? More time with Jesus?  What if I did every little minute, aggravating or even enjoyable task with the level of discipline or excellence that I give to the Drama ministry? How pleasing that would be to God. How much joy and blessing would this practice bring me?  What about you?  What area in your life do you rock?  Do you put the same effort into the things you don’t enjoy or necessarily rock?

HE has sweetly been pressing upon my spirit that my life would be so much more peaceful and joyful if I approached every area in my life with discipline and a spirit of excellence….because only then would I be doing his perfect will. I guess you could say I have finally started to truly live out Proverbs 29:18.  You see we all do enough to get by don’t we?  But that’s not what HE wants from us.  Just getting by.  HE tells us in Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”  We can’t be in perfect fellowship if we are not obedient in all areas of our life….even the tedious menial tasks.

 So this year my list is somewhat simple in comparison to previous years.  I am desperately going to try to incorporate more discipline in all areas of my life and to do it with excellence.  I will share with you in future blogs and try to authentically live out this practice of discipline with excellence in my life as God teaches and coaches me along.  In the mean time, think about this……I can feel his pleasure smiling on me when I have pleased him just as I can feel his convicting spirit when I have failed him. I so long for more of his pleasure in my life, what about you?

 Share if you dare….what goals or resolutions God is impressing upon your life for 2014?

                                Enjoy the video by Steven Curtis Chapman…..”Do Everything”

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