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Cheryl Hughes: Choosing Discomfort

During our never-ending cleanup of Garey’s parents’ place, his sister, Charlotte, said to me, several times, “You are so organized.”  I always thought, but didn’t say, “No, I just have a lot of self-discipline.”  I’ve learned how to do things I don’t want to do for the reward ahead.  I’ve had others in my family tell me that I have a lot of patience, as they watch me stay with an unpleasant task until it is complete.  I think the same thing then, as well.  “No, I just have a lot of self-discipline.”

Joyce Meyer wrote in her book, APPROVAL ADDICTION, “Discipline means we will have to choose to do something we don’t really feel like doing.  If we feel like doing something, discipline is not required or needed.”

I feel like sitting under the AC, eating popcorn and watching British mysteries.  It takes zero self-discipline for me to do that.  Picking blackberries during a feels-like heat index of 150 degrees, however, requires self-discipline on my part.  My granddaughter wants to learn how to make blackberry cobbler next week, so yesterday, I waded through briars, honeysuckle vines and heat to pick enough berries to make sure she is able to acquire that skill.

In the same book, Joyce Meyer also wrote, “Intelligence and talents are God’s gifts, but character is developed.  Many people have gifts that can take them to high places, but they don’t have the character to keep them there once they arrive.”

How did I get here—to this place of self-discipline?  I got here the way most people do.  I delayed or abandoned things I should have done, and the consequences came back later and bit me in the rear end.  Pain is a very effective motivator.  If you come across a person who has little self-discipline, you can be pretty sure that two things have occurred in their lives: (1) Someone has baled them out of difficult situations, or (2) They have refused to press through difficult situations.

Actually, I’d like to add an amendment to those two rules: They haven’t been bitten painfully enough in the rear end.

I don’t want to give the impression that I think I’ve arrived.  Far from it.  I have had a post-it on my bathroom mirror for two weeks that reads: CLEAN UP THE SEWING ROOM.  Today is Sunday.  My granddaughter might get to come to my house tomorrow.  Besides learning how to make blackberry cobbler, she wants to learn how to read a sewing pattern and make a simple garment.  Currently, I can barely see my sewing machine from the doorway of my sewing room.  This means, after I type this column, instead of getting to sit under the AC, eat popcorn and watch British mysteries, I will be faced with cleaning out my sewing room.

One of my favorite Proverbs says, “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor.”  If my sewing room could talk, do you know what it would tell me?  “For two weeks, you’ve had your chance to work slowly and carefully.  Now you have to clean up this mess today!”  My hand will be put to forced labor.

I’m still learning the lessons of self-discipline, and I’m still being painfully bitten in the rear end.


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