Discipline has never been something that I have seen in the realms of a positive light. For that matter, discipline – in my eyes – is a measure of punishment. I am learning, however, to see discipline under the scope of a new lens. One that shows me the life that is available within the walls of discipline. All while recognizing the darkness that hovers just beyond that wall.
The choice to stay within the walls of discipline is mine.
Will I heed the advise of the wall made to give me life? Or will I scale the wall, believing the lie that something better is beyond? If I’m honest, I will do both along the way. For I am only human. But seeing the wall in a different light may well be the first step to understanding that God’s love for me is beyond measure.
I’ve recently been studying the book, Made to Crave with a group of women. The book focuses on the truth that we are beings made to crave God – not food. Unfortunately, however, we often put empty, non-filling, sweet-tasting lies into the holes that yearn for more.
Through this study, I have come to see that my cravings go far beyond the sweet shallow calories found in the comfort of my familiar go-tos. For as I fight to stay within the caloric restrictions set for my activity level, I am finding feelings of loneliness and desire surface.
Are my feelings new or did the wall of discipline point them out to me?
There is no doubt in my mind that these feelings have been buried beneath the rubble of my choice to go beyond the wall. In search of relief, I sought that which made me feel good in the moment. What I am learning I need to do, however, is turn to the One who navigates my soul. For in so doing, I am able to see the cavities. Maybe the hardest part in all of this is the recognition that in seeking my own way, I gave food permission to enslave me. My choice to go beyond the wall of discipline, made me a prisoner.
Maybe God isn’t to blame.
Growing up in the church I was taught that God disciplines me, His child, because He loves me. This never made sense to me. Because in my mind discipline was equivalent to punishment. But as I recently opted to choose a salad over a cinnamon crusted bagel with cream cheese for lunch this idea (of God’s discipline) took a major shift within.
For it was my choice.
I could have chosen to do either and He would have not have bat an eye. I would not have been struck by lighting or anything else, because I chose to indulge that one time. But, going beyond would have been a slippery slope. And seeing it, recognizing it, and choosing otherwise kept me safe.
This concept begs me to reconsider God’s ways. For I believe, discipline is something God desires to grow within me, not a tool to use against me. Seeing this causes me to pause and ponder that maybe His love for me is so vast that He put the wall there to protect me. And in so doing this, His hope is that I would stay inside and go to Him in my times of need.
This changes everything for me.
For I can no longer view my God as one that is wrathful. Instead, I see a God who is doing what any parent who loves their child would do. He is putting up a protective barrier. And in so doing, hoping I will choose Him over scaling the wall in an attempt to find my own way. Because He knows that when I choose to cross over the wall, I’m heading into enemy territory. So many aspects of life – not just food – fall into this category.
Learning to see the wall of discipline as a life of freedom and not a form of punishment is not an easy task. But when I consider that staying within the walls put into place by those deemed professionals who know how much I should eat, spend, save, work, rest, exercise and etc., I know that I have a better chance at physical, mental and spiritual health. Not to mention better relationships, longevity, financial freedom, and so much more.
His desire is that I would have life…that we would have life.
So, if this means learning to see the wall as a caution sign that beckons me to pay attention, I will. If it means, pausing and asking Him for His guidance in those moments I feel tempted, then so be it. For freedom, not captivity, is my soul’s greatest desire. So, I will allow those moments of temptation to lead me to understand more fully what it is my soul is seeking and hopefully turn to Him instead of choosing my own way.
Till next time,
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