Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty. --Frank Herbert
I think of him when I face decisions, when I pray for big change. There is something to having faith, for sure. Something to being able to think bigger than our ability to plan. But I think there is also something to working hard. To showing up, every day, even when we don’t feel like it. Especially when we don’t feel like it. I can’t expect my dreams to knock on my door just because they are worthy and I am busy working hard at other things. I have to work for them, to fight for them.
I have also stayed away from the idea of selecting a “guiding word” for the year. I have friends, a couple, who pray over and choose one each year. They focus on it all year long. For me, a wordsmith, this seemed too difficult. Choose just one? For the year? When there is so much I'd like to change? And so many blessed words?
And yet, this year, after so much change, I found myself reevaluating. I looked at my life, at the things I don’t do that leave me disappointed at the end of every day. I have a pile of reasons for them, many of them valid, but it’s never enough to make me feel better.
I have stopped getting up early, I’m not reading, I’m not writing, and even when I do, it’s not with regularity and intent to do something greater. I’m not as fit as I’d like to be, spiritually or physically. When I consider all of these issues, at first, they seem unrelated. But when I look a little closer, they are essentially the same. I lack discipline.
I think, before, lacking discipline was my way of having at least a smidgen of spontaneity in my life—something that was unscripted or unplanned. But without a plan for the small bit of time that is mine, it gets wasted. It’s spent on Facebook or reading words others have penned instead of strengthening and reviving my body, filling my soul or spilling it for others.
It isn’t dramatic. It starts with an alarm clock, with getting up and moving, working at the parts I don’t like, spending energy on things I’m not yet good at, writing when I’m uninspired. It’s sweeping change made in small choices over many days. I can do better. And this year, I resolve to.
Whatever your big change, here’s to tiny steps in the right direction.