“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge.” —Proverbs 12:1
These two traits walk hand-in-hand. It takes discipline to grow in knowledge and continue growing in it. It’s hard to humble oneself and say, “No, I don’t know it all. Maybe I should learn this or try that or attempt it this way or add here and maybe subtract here and so on and so on.” Life has a way of making us pivot a lot. Like a pitcher who can throw anything in any count; life drops us curveballs when we’re least expecting it.
Staying disciplined in the faith creates grounding. It creates stability and a pliant, adaptive spirit. One of the worst things that I do in my life is get comfortable. And I don’t mean sweats and a tee (which I truly enjoy), I’m talking about falling into a routine that is complacent, lacking in consideration for others’ needs and my own spiritual life. I lose my perspective and, therefore, my way! It’s like a flood of water seeping into all the areas of my life that it can before I plug it up. Where I once was able to actually hear what others were saying and identify with their feelings, I now lack that loving ear and can’t offer any advice or thoughtful words.
Which brings me to this point: Where there is purpose, there is freedom. I listen to a few podcasts here and there, and there’s this one guy named Jocko Willick (who is a man amongst boys) who I enjoy. One thing he says pretty consistently is that discipline equals freedom. I love that, but I think purpose is even better! When I know what I’m living for, everything falls into place. The problem is that it’s hard to keep that perspective when there’s just SO MUCH OTHER STUFF going on at all times. That’s why discipline is so critical to the equation.
It is the glue to finishing what we start. Those previous verses build off this principle. There must be many days spent in the field in order to produce that bread. There must be commitment to the end if you’re going to roast your kill. That’s why it’s easy to remember all the times we started something and didn’t finish it. The fitness industry thrives off this belief. They know how hard it is to remain disciplined for an extended period of time amidst the busyness of life. When we lose this priority and purpose, we drop the guard and neglect the discipline. It’s a vicious cycle.
That’s been my focus lately: Stay true to the purpose and the fruit will fall. When Jesus’ love and abounding grace is the center of my focus, what I do should emulate that. It doesn’t matter what it is because I have the chance to make all kinds of encounters that can make an impact. Heck, it may not even be person-to-person but something in my work! If you’re reading this, I may have never even met you — but I am praying that this leaves you in a refreshed state of mind!
I’m looking for a job to do in the Columbus area right now and I’m constantly thinking, “It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be something.” That kind of thinking goes a long way. I want to make this epic tale for all these different points in my life and do some crazy awesome stuff every chance I get. But it’s the little things that create the space for big things to happen. It’s the same way in every part of my life — I’ve seen it! A small favor or act of appreciation to my wife Elizabeth that she remembers for years, or the host family I stayed with during a tour of duty where I can see their kids grow up, or meeting a dude in the airport and then all of a sudden you’re connected socially and meeting for coffee once a week in the mornings!
These little disciplines engineer the big stuff.
I trust You. I will remain faithful. Remind me, Father, of my purpose.
“From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.” —Proverbs 12:14
David Ledbetter is a pitcher for the Round Rock Express (AAA affiliate for the Texas Rangers) and a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.