Last week, I posted at Circle of Friends about how one of my goals for 2012 was to stay more consistently disciplined in all areas of my life, with new daily habits of discipline as opposed to catch-up habits. I have a pattern, as I do when I drive, to hit the gas, then coast, then hit the gas, then coast. I didn’t realize just how bad I was until I logged into Daily Mile and realized that I hadn’t run in three months! That’s quite a long coast!
As I evaluated how to keep my life at a steady pace, I came to the conclusion that I needed to set larger goals that could be broken down into smaller daily disciplines.
The first area of discipline that I wanted to tackle was prayer. I’m fairly good at talking to God regularly throughout the day in my head. In fact, I have always have some form of conversation going in my head, whether it’s with myself, a story I’m writing, or talking to God. I can often miss the real-life conversations around me, and it drives my husband crazy!
But I wanted to focus more on the quiet times of prayer when I’m alone, and my thoughts are solely focused on conversation with God, not also on the dishes or folding laundry or driving my car. I also wanted to be consistent in keeping my promises to pray for the needs of others.
I knew if I just told myself to spend 15 minutes every morning in prayer that I would get distracted, or I’d forget, or the kids would wake up and I’d lose my prayer train of thought. And how do you set bigger goals for prayer? It’s not like you can set a goal to pray for something big and then sit back and wait for it to happen. The success of prayer isn’t what happens because you prayed, but what happens inside of you because of God working in you and how you have opened yourself to His voice in your life.
Then this prayer diary showed up in the mail from my friend Joy who is a missionary with YWAM (youth with a mission). I thumbed through the pages and knew this was my bigger goal that would help me stay disciplined. The book is a well-thought out and informative planner for the entire year. At the beginning of each month is an informative article educating you on a different country and about the issues Christians there are facing. Each day of the year lists a prayer request for various countries, as well as space to add your own. At the beginning of each week is a place to write your own goals for the week, which I am using to help me in my other areas of discipline.
I like to write. I love paper, and I get excited to have something like this to fill out and help me focus each day. A blank journal just wouldn’t have cut it for me. In this diary, if I miss a day, there’s a glaring blank spot, reminding me that I’m coasting again and need to keep my foot steady on the gas.
Next up: physical discipline. I may have run a marathon once, but I’ve been a slacker recently!!