Signposts on the Road to the Cross: On Discipline
Whenever the word “discipline” comes up these days, I want to run and hide. Not because discipline scares me or because I don’t like it, but because I feel like I am falling short in the discipline department. I am a stay-at-home mom to 3 children under the age of 5. I wake up to little people needing to be fed and I go to sleep pretty darn tired after my 3-year-old has been in and out of bed for hours (because 3-year-olds need approximately 100,000 things between the hours of 7pm-9pm). I do have structure and rhythms that help me manage my tribe, but I don’t have the same time to myself that I used to! I’m sure I am still disciplined in some ways, and probably even in new ways, but I often feel like I have lost the disciplines that I had once deemed important.
So, in this season of Lent where we frequently hear the “D” word, instead of running and hiding, instead of feeling like a failure, I realized I needed to talk to Jesus. I needed to hear what He deems important. I asked Jesus to show me disciplines or practices that I have cultivated throughout my life that have brought meaning and significance. He didn’t show me anything about my diet or exercise. He didn’t show me anything about waking up before my kids for a devotional (although I do think these are all beautiful and important disciplines that Jesus often does call us to train in). Instead, He reminded me of a simple question that I often ask him. Throughout my life I have been asking Jesus, “Where are you in this?”
The Lord has been training my heart in this practice for years now. It didn’t always come naturally and often still doesn’t (luckily I married an amazing man who often encourages me towards this!). In my own pride and selfishness, I don’t always want to ask this question. I know it might be hard. It might be work. I know it won’t always be easy. But I do know that it allows for more of Him and less of me. So, I ask. I move against my sinful nature, and I move towards Him. And, I can say that, by his love and grace, it has become more of a natural move towards Him.
This simple practice of actually asking God, then turning my eyes to Him and listening to His response has changed so much in my life. His answers have brought peace and comfort. They have brought joy and hope. They have brought compassion and love where anger once resided. They have brought deep healing and restoration.
When I ask Jesus where He is, He is always faithful to show me that He is and has always been with me. He knows exactly what I need, and, when he shows Himself to me, my perspective shifts. He reveals Himself to be the Good Shepherd who takes care of his sheep. The amazing thing is that this simple yet profound question can be asked at any time, on any schedule and in any season of life.
Alright—I’m out. My 3-year-old is out of bed again….“Lord, where are you in this?”
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord