Monday, August 11, 2014

Discipline Does NOT Disqualify

Do you remember being disciplined as a child? Me too! It was not my favorite experience, but as I look back I know it was an important part of my growing up years. Now as a Mom, though it's not an enjoyable part of my role, I know it's also a necessary part of my children's lives. And in the last month, I've been reminded as a child of God, discipline is still a critical part of my life.

Over a month ago, God led me to step away from my blog. I felt Him leading me to prioritize things in my life and reminding me to live out my faith and apply His Word instead of simply talking about and telling others. Initially, I also thought He perhaps was pushing pause with my blog writing so I could spend my writing time working on another project He's put on my heart.

In the 30+ days that have passed much has happened and recently I've connected some dots. I'm sorry to say I didn't get much writing done at all, but am grateful for the time and work I spent praying and preparing for the ReNEWed Life event. I am also thankful for the work God has done and lesson He taught.

Nearly 10 days ago, I found myself in a battle - there was a mess in my mind. Different things had happened, comments were made and lies believed that left me feeling like a failure, like I wasn't good enough and like my voice didn't matter.

I've been in this place before and I'm grateful God opened my eyes to the problem rather quickly this time. Through the process He showed me much, but today I want to focus on one short statement - "Discipline does NOT disqualify." Friend, this may sound simple, but it makes a powerful point. It teaches me a lesson I really hadn't thought about before, but addresses a lie I've believed from time to time.

Looking back I think God was disciplining me as He led me away from blogging, but through that process I'm grateful for how He's addressed a struggle in my life. And yet again reminded me to replace lies with Truth.

As a kid, a student and an athlete, I didn't enjoy being yelled at and I wasn't one of those tough kids who could handle it. On the outside it probably never looked like it bothered me, but internally it crushed me. Yelling, criticism, discipline it all left me feeling like I wasn't good enough, like I didn't measure up or like I didn't matter. Until one day, a coach made a powerful statement, "Don't worry when I yell at you; worry when I don't. I yell at you because I believe you can get better. When I stop yelling at you, I've given up on you."

First of all this coach was not abusive or mean, but one who practiced their authority with a bit of a stern voice. These particular words went straight to my tender heart and put things in much better perspective.

There was much that led to the recent mess in my mind, but part of it was my reaction to God's discipline and the lies Satan whispered through the process. Ones like - "If you're really supposed to do this, don't you think you'd do it right?" "You can't even live out God's Word, how can you share about it?" "If God really loved you, why would He have you stop doing something you love?"

Thankfully one day, God opened my eyes to what He was really doing...He had disciplined me. Why? For the same reason I discipline my children and my parents disciplined me. He loves me.

"Because the Lord disciplines the ones He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son." Hebrews 12:6

Discipline is never easy and rarely is what the disciplined would choose, but when it's done in love there is always a reason. Like my coach explained, discipline shows you care and believe they can be better. We can't pick and choose the parts we want...as children of God it's a package deal and discipline is part of it...and remember it's only because God knows what is best!

"Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?" Hebrews 12:7

Finally friend, we must not simply endure discipline, we must learn from it or we will experience it again. As a parent I discipline my children because I want them to do what is right instead of wrong. Other times just like my coach, I do it because I believe they can do better. When God disciplines us, we need to step back, pray and ask "Is there something I'm doing that I shouldn't be?" There usually is! Don't allow this discipline to discourage you or disqualify you, but let it equip you and empower you! When we quit doing what we shouldn't and remember God loves us enough to correct us, we will do what He's called us to!

"A fool spurns his father's discipline, but whoever heeds his correction shows prudence." Proverbs 15:5

It is wise to pay attention to all God says and does...including when He disciplines. May we always remember He has a reason for it, but never forget it's not to disqualify us from what He's called us to do. I've missed joining you here, but I'm grateful I obeyed God and stepped away. In the moment I didn't appreciate His discipline, but I'm thankful for the lesson He taught. I look forward to applying what I've learned and pressing on with what He's leading me to do. I invite you to join me back here tomorrow as I share a devotional and talk about a topic dear to my heart.

In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on discipline. Has it ever left you feeling disqualified?

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