Category Archives: Discipline

How to Grow Stronger in the Race of Life

I’ve never been guilty of taking Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 4:8 as a commandment against exercise; I’ve only ever been too lazy to get the physical exercise I needed. I can get away without running for a while if I get busy, but among the other ways that I grow closer to God and further from myself, running holds a particular significance. Along with praying, reading the Word, and writing, running is one way that I get with God and lay down my burdens.

(Featured photo: we spent our Flag Day enjoying our freedom to do meaningful work and produce something worthwhile. We will be seeing corn and canteloupe soon!)

Paul describes the Christian life as a race, one we are to run with patience, looking to Jesus who endured the cross (Hebrews 12:1-2). We focus on being carefree and unburdened, but this race requires us to take a burden upon ourselves.

To grow stronger in this race called life- Run Burdened

Building strength and endurance requires weight or resistance. After a long absence from running, I decided to combine running with calisthenics and light barbells that I carried while running. A little bit of added weight feels like a ton, until your body gets used to it. But if you can persist, running burdened helps you to be even stronger and faster without the weights when it comes time to compete. There is a benefit to running burdened.

For me, running allows me to lay down my burdens- worries, stress, tension. But before long, I’m picking up other burdens, more beneficial to be borne.

A family member in need, a loved one in the hospital, the state of our community, state, or nation. A lot of meditating on purpose, calling, and mission in life. Something that is beyond a cosmic wish list I hope God will fill for me.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬

We’re not promised to run carefree, we can only try to run while carrying the right kind and amount of weight- the Lord’s yoke, easy and light, will teach us of Him.

Some personal burdens are hard to shake, but I can’t stop running.
There are lots of grave needs, close to home and far away, but I can’t stop running.
In the physical or the spiritual sense, if you run burdened, you will grow stronger.

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Why You Should Read the Bible at Least 1 Hour a Day

(image via eaglerising.com)

I have started a 90-day Bible challenge on my YouVersion Bible App. In addition, I started a 60-day reading plan through the New Testament that I am doing with some other guys from church. I have fallen behind on the actual calendar of days, but I’m at least keeping pace at around 2 days behind what the schedule calls for.

It is a challenge to read enough Bible to get through it all within 90 days. But I have discovered something as I have held my commitment to Bible reading in 2015 that I want to pass on to you.

I seriously recommend making time to read the Bible at least one hour per day.

I have started 365-day Bible reading plans in the past, and my record has been losing out on it within a month. Part of my problem, I believe, has to do with a revelation I had based on the teaching of Dr. Henry Cloud in his book, Boundaries for Leaders. Last year, I heard Dr. Cloud address an audience of mostly counselors and their supervisors on the topic of focus. When we have distractions happen as we are trying to focus on work, our working memory loses track of where we were and what we were doing immediately before the distraction occurred.

It is our working memory, right at the front of our brains, that we depend on to help us accomplish tasks. This memory is easily accessible and focused only on the immediate situation. When you sit down for 15 minutes and read 3-4 chapters, then get up and go about your day, you lose so much of what you just read. There is less to recall of what you just read the following day when it is time to pick back up where you left off.

I have found that, by expecting myself to read longer, while being held accountable by the long, long daily reading list, I am able to take in more of the Bible and make a bigger impact on my life.

The Bible itself stresses the need to keep the Word in our working memory:

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭6‬:‭6-9‬ KJV)

And it stresses the danger of not keeping the Word before your eyes regularly:

And it shall be, when the Lord thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the Lord, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. (‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭6‬:‭10-12‬ KJV)

If you’re like me, you know what it is like to get lost in God’s Word have time leave you behind. Those are the times I have gotten the most benefit and pleasure from the Bible. It is harder to to make such a time committment on a daily basis, but I promise you, you will be the better for it.

Learn to Live Out the Long Days

In spite of the rain, I got out around 5:30 for a morning run. I welcomed the exposure I had to the elements, the oneness I had with the world around me. I had not slept, I had been writing all night long, taking advantage of the creativity that was flowing. And I had a full day of work ahead of me.

Worthwhile pursuits lend to long days. What is it that will see you through?

Determination to get things done.

Drive to change something in yourself, in the world around you.

Knowing that your effort will pay off in the end.

Operating off of the momentum of accomplishing small things that add up to large successes.

I have set a June 16th deadline for myself. And it is looming closer and closer. So I believe I will have more long days in the near future. Nothing of note has ever been achieved without sacrifice. And the stakes have never been higher, because I am determined to leave a legacy of “did that” for my children, instead of a legacy of “would like to.”

What are you waiting for? What “to-do” is sitting there waiting for you to invest a long day into?

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

A Question Worth Asking- One That Deserves An Answer

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence… For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. (Hebrews 12:9, 10)

This scripture prompted the question worth asking- what’s the motivation behind your way of disciplining your children, dad?

This verse indicates that fathers (whether individually or the collective fathers of the nation) disciplined according to their own desires, or to meet their own ends. Either of the two discipline extremes seems rooted in self-profit:

Quick, harsh, angry punishment due to anger, embarrassment, or outside perceptions…
Inattentive, hands-off, coldness because one is physically absent or simply can’t be bothered…

Both present personal concerns or attitudes that are outside of the best interest of any child, provoking negative behavior and making discipline highly ineffective.

So the answer that is demanded should be: the child’s best interest. So what dictates that?

Don’t seek to provoke your child.
Make use of every opportunity to nurture and admonish.
Constantly train your child.

Any one of us may possibly fall into the self-interest trap- in fact I believe we all do from time to time. The key is to recognize when we are acting on our impulses or in response to a real concern like a safety issue, rules infraction, or moral concern.

So here are a few questions to think about when evaluating your discipline:
Was my discipline an act of correction for my child or a reaction based on my perception of what he did? What was at risk due to the child’s behavior that I felt required discipline? Who really received the benefit of my acting to discipline- the child or me? Was I too harsh in my discipline compared to the child’s infraction? Does the child understand why he was disciplined (would require knowing expectations or having set rules)? If my child behaved that way again, would I do the same thing over again in response?

I’d love to get your additions to this list and your feedback on the subject! But to conclude, I want to go back and include a portion of scripture I left out in the beginning:

We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us… shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (Hebrews 12:9)

I’m thankful to have a Father that always acts in my best interest!

The Making of a Personal Best part 3

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I started writing posts by this title to record and reflect on personal bests that I experience in what have become two very important practices for me- writing and running. Well, it doesn’t seem like much has changed on the running front in the way of personal bests. But I will get back to that in a moment…

In the area of writing- I am on track for a personal best in total monthly views. I have exceeded September already, and will certainly beat my highest month, which is August 2012 with a total of 256. I am very excited about this since I have been considering investing more into my blog. The investment would seem to be worth it. Also, I have been guest posting for Lead Change Group and JoAnn Corley’s 1% Edge App as a subject matter expert on the need for personal balance for professional success. These have been 2 great opportunities to connect with leaders and develop leadership. So writing has been great lately.

One personal best I am in the middle of is a spiritual best. Spiritual discipline can be so hard to maintain, but the reason is the flesh-and-blood man resists it. Jesus is laying a lot on my heart to accomplish and I am seeking direction for all He has in store.

What I am taking away from these experiences is that constant and consistent practice builds Momentum, and momentum is important. I have written less so far this month than in previous months, but people are finding my work and reading it, and then coming back to read it again- momentum. I haven’t ran my fastest or farthest lately, but consistency over the past two and a half months has kept running on my weekly agenda consistently. I’m becoming a disciplined runner and I am getting better- momentum. Spiritually, I started at an early age loving the things of God and building a foundation that has never diminished, though my consistency may wane and my flesh cry out against it. I have to get back on track from time to time, but this foundation grows each time I grow closer to Him- momentum.

Do you know the power of building momentum? Where do you need to start working on momentum in your life? What is your next personal best to begin working toward?

Recommitting

I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. (1 Corinthians 15:31)

This highlighted portion of scripture is an example of daily recommitment.

Let’s get this straight- death, required daily? Death- literal or figurative- implies something that’s permanent, right? You don’t redo death. What’s done is done.

How ironic. Commitment doesn’t seal the deal, if done only once. It must be done daily.

I have had a huge amount of recommitment to make lately. Can you see yourself in any of my recommitments?

  • Renewal in ministry
  • Rededication to fatherhood
  • Reevaluation of goals
  • Realignment of work priorities
  • The idea of daily dying becomes clearer when I realize: for each role or responsibility I resume, another priority must pass away. And those that pass away, in every case, represent something that has grown out of selfishness, greed, ego, or pride- a well-worn road of ease rather than a worthy path of promise.

    The mental exercise of reevaluation can be exhausting. But the real sign of recommitment is action. Recommitment is not mental assent, but it is acting on your beliefs. It takes courage. It sometimes means mourning the loss of something good in your life that must be replaced by something great.

    So what leads to a need for recommitment?

  • Changing seasons of life
  • Crises of life-changing proportion
  • Chafing under the yoke of complacency
  • Chances to settle for less than your dream
  • Choices that have led you away from that which is most important
  • Daily course corrections keep you from straying away from the the things that are most important. The best policy is always to change before you are forced to.

    Can you remember the last time you were passionate about something? Your family, your work, your contribution to society? Your relationship with God? How far do you have to go back to resume where you left off? If you can remember the last time you were on track with your commitments, you can resume today, right now. Small steps daily lead to the biggest strides in life.

    Mourning the Loss of Boundaries

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    Boundaries are natural:
    Like skin that separates your vulnerable internal organs from exposure and contaminants.
    Or banks that hold rivers on course.
    Or tree lines that separate the safe haven of the forrest from the open fields where animals feed.

    The loss of these natural boundaries are potentially catastrophic for each of these ecosystems.

    Why is it any less true that individuals, families and societies are harmed when appropriate boundaries are not kept in place?

    Boundaries=Definition. They make up the “shape” of who you are. They are the defining factors of what others know about you and what you know about yourself. Much like your physical shape, if you don’t like what you see (or fear what others perceive) you have to make changes that redefine you. Definition is a decision.

    Boundaries=Differentiation. I’m me, you’re you, we are a certain group (family, organization, culture), while you may be of a different group. Differentiation is to be accepted (even celebrated!)

    Boundaries=Distinction. I am who I am for a good reason. I shouldn’t be like you because of those reasons. Maybe there are reasons I should be more like you, and vice versa. But I, and you, choose daily who we each are to be. Distinction is to be respected.

    Regardless of things that may change about me over time, I have to have core values and morals that I hold as unchangeable. And so do you. That’s not a bad thing- it is a necessary thing.

    Boundaries are important in the everyday lives of people, families, and our society. I’m afraid that we are in a time that is post-boundaries. And I want to share why in the next few posts.

    But here’s the idea- the loss of boundaries means the loss of identity. And that is something to mourn after.

    Anything here pique your interest? Drop a comment and share. Rate this post at the top. Share with the buttons below. Until next time…