I can’t even remember what that quote is from, but I can hear it in my head in a Japanese accent, “You lack discipline!”.
Whenever I hear someone begin to speak of discipline, that line runs through my head. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. I, like most Americans, when pressed, would have to admit that I lack discipline in many areas. It’s not that I am a lazy slob who never gets anything done, but when it comes to personal discipline, such as exercise, it’s a struggle. Up until now I’ve been able to rely on my young metabolism to get me through life, but now that I’m closer to 30 than 20, I’m beginning to notice age catching up with me. I’ve always been in, what appears to be, reasonably good shape. However, the last couple of years I’ve noticed my pants fitting just a little tighter, and my belly looking a little more rounded than it’s ever been. It’s certainly no surprise; I work a job that has me at a desk in my office most days of the week. Then on Sundays and Wednesdays I’m usually leading worship, but that’s been just about the extent of my physical activity.
Well, that’s all started to change, since about two weeks ago. My wife and I started doing P90x. You know, that workout system that you see on infomercials late at night (and now in the middle of the day, too). I’m not usually one to get suckered into buying anything from an infomercial, and to my credit, I didn’t. I did what any truly clever person would do; I bought it off of eBay. Then, I proceeded to seek out the proper tools to use it. You need to have a decent collection of free-weights, and a chin-up bar (also available on an infomercial). It took me a few months, but I eventually managed to accumulate the tools I needed. Mostly from borrowing them from other people. (Hey, weights aren’t cheap! they’re like a dollar a pound!)
My wife and I, knowing that we would probably start slacking off if it were only the two of us, got some friends to commit to working out with us, too. Now, here we are, almost two weeks later, and feeling great (Actually, the girls are three weeks into it). But I have to tell you, the first week is pretty miserable. Especially if you haven’t done anything to prepare yourself for it. We were all pretty darn sore. I could barely stand up straight. But that’s where discipline began to come into play. I knew that if I could just press through it, the pain would begin to lessen, and I’d start seeing results. Believe it or not, P90x is such a good workout, I can already see results. Instead of being a miracle diet or an exercise equipment gimmick targeted at the lazy, P90x is for those who are serious about getting into shape, even though it’s going to be hard work.
Beyond just getting into physical shape, my wife and I are getting our finances into shape as well. Our church has been hosting Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, and I’ve been the one coordinating the class. We started with about 80 people, and I think we’ve lost a few, but we’re still going strong. We just finished week five. That’s been amazing as well, especially in this time of economic distress that is sweeping the country. We are currently just a few months away from paying off the last of our debt and beginning to save. It makes so much more sense to save your money and let it earn interest, rather than borrowing it from someone at an exorbitant percentage rate. I’m glad we weren’t very far into debt in the first place. It’s made it much easier to get out of debt.
What is better than both of those things, though? Jesus. Jesus makes it worth doing any of that stuff. It would all be pretty meaningless without Him. Maybe that sound strange to you. Jesus is better than all of those things, absolutely! But when you are in fellowship with him, it makes all of those things far more enjoyable, too. Because then I’m not just a guy whose whole purpose in life is to be in shape or to make lots of money, but I’m a guy who loves Jesus and gets to worship Him in all that I do. That includes exercise and managing my finances. I get to use those things as they were created to be; for the purpose of disciplining myself to be a good steward with what God has given me.