5 Disciplines ~ Week 5 – The Discipline of Work

We are to the final week of the Discipline series and I want to encourage you.  If you’ve fallen off the bandwagon – don’t beat yourself up – just get back up and start again. Do not give up! And in case you are wondering…I fell off the bandwagon this week with my week 1 challenge – to lose 5 pounds in 5 weeks and I’m at 2 pounds in 4 weeks - so I really need to be disciplined this week.  I’m not giving up!

This weeks Discipline is Work.

Let’s begin with the origin of work.  You may remember in Genesis 3:19, that after Adam and Eve sinned, God banished them from the garden and he cursed the ground.  God said to Adam “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” meaning – Adam was going to have to work hard and sweat to provide food for his family.

BUT…

There was work before the fall.  Actually – Adam was working before Eve had even been created.  Look at Genesis 2:15:

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” 

Work was ordained by God in the perfect Garden of Eden.  Adam was not meant to be idle.  And we are not to be idle.

Work is not a curse.

Elizabeth Elliot writes:
“Work is a blessing.  God has so arranged the world that work is necessary and He gives us hands and strength to do it.  The enjoyment of leisure would be nothing if we had only leisure.  It is the joy of work well done that enables us to enjoy rest…I never appreciated the tremendous therapeutic value of work until I lost my first husband…my husband’s death made me unutterably grateful to God for plain, ordinary housework…I was barely able to get through the day but the work was there and by the grace of God I did it.”

Work is a blessing.  A Christian woman should be characterized as a woman who is willing to work hard.  Colossians 3;23 says “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.” We are not working for money, status or men - we are working for the glory of God!

In Proverbs 31:13 the Proverbs 31 woman is described as having “eager hands“.  She does her work willingly and with a good attitude.

I could nickname my oldest sister, Kristen, as an “eager” beaver!  She is a fast moving, high energy, cooking, cleaning, multi-tasking machine!  When we moved into our new home 2 years ago, the entire extended family – children and all – arrived to help me clean and unpack.  She took charge from the moment she stepped into my house.  She rolled her sleeves up, put on her gloves and to work she went – periodically she took a break to inspect my work and my other sister’s cleaning.  Her response was “push harder – put some muscle into it!” So we sneaked away to an upstairs bathroom where we could work in a care-free environment and 30 minutes later she arrived – looked at our work and had more advice on how to clean more effectively and efficiently…I think it involved a Q-tip to clean in the cracks…lol!  And by the way – it was my house and I’m slightly less wired than she is (only slightly) so I really didn’t care about the cracks!  While we got a lot of laughs out of our different work ethics that day – after everyone left my husband commented on how amazingly hard and eager my sister Kristen works.  I WANT that!  I admire that in her!  She has a very blessed family!

Would those who live in your home describe you as a woman with “eager hands“?

That’s our challenge!

Week 5 Challenge:
Work with eager hands this week!  Pray and ask God to give you an eager attitude all day long.  Do your work as unto the Lord.  Remember the meaning behind your work in the home – all of it added up equals a well nurtured home and family.  Research and find inspiration in magazines or on-line.  Find a woman with eager hands and learn off of her.   If all day long you have been feeding and caring for babies, listening, comforting, training, teaching, cooking and cleaning – you will be tired.  REST – guilt-free!  God does not condemn rest – he condemns laziness (2 Thess. 3:10).

As we end this series on the topic of work – it flows perfectly into the next 14 week series that is about to begin next Monday here on the Proverbs 31 Woman.  The Proverbs 31 Woman is a diligent and disciplined woman – so we have many more weeks to grow and strengthen our discipline muscles!

Are you taking the challenge to work with eager hands this week?  Leave a comment letting me know your commitment and if you are a blogger, write about this challenge or the past 4 week’s challenges and link-up below!

Walk with the King,

5 Disciplines – Week 4 ~ The Mind

 

If you want to revisit the first 3 weeks of this series here are the links:

Week 1, the Discipline of the Body.
Week 2, the Discipline of our Time.
Week 3, the Discipline of our Spirit.

How are you doing with the challenges?  Update us in the comment section – this is your accountability!  On weight loss I’m around 3 pounds…on time management…I’m feverishly writing lists :) and on Spirit - I consistently (but not perfectly) gave the first minute of everyday to being in God’s word last week.


Now we are to week 4 – Disciplining Our Mind!

Do you feel like you have a lot of brain clutter?  On days when I’m overwhelmed, I feel like I’m losing it!  There’s a lot of noise in our world – voices come at us from facebook, twitter, television, cell phones, our family, political figures, spiritual leaders, and inner noise of our own muddled thinking.

Relational issues, spiritual issues, time management issues, financial issues and weight issues all take up space in our brain and can cause brain clutter.  This noise in our heads can cause us to lose the peace of mind that God wants for us.  Sometimes it’s because we are too busy, over committed, or own way too much stuff.  Other times it’s because we have a past that haunts us, a spouse who is difficult or a child who consumes our mind with concern.  And many times it’s because we are lacking in prayer.


Philippians 4:6,7, says: Do not be anxious about anything,   but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   7 And the peace of God,   which transcends all understanding,   will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

This post will only scratch the surface of a very broad topic of discipline of the mind. I could take this in many many directions but for the purposes of this week’s challenge - we will keep it simple since simplicity is something very lacking in our culture!

Elizabeth Elliot writes: “A simple and orderly life represents a clean and orderly mind.  Muddled thinking inevitably results in muddled living.  A house that is cluttered is usually lived in by people whose minds are also cluttered, who need to simplify their lives.  This begins with simplifying and clarifying their thinking.  Mind and life need to be freed from the “disorder of the unnecessary.”

There is a lot of wisdom packed into this little quote, so let’s break down this quote and apply it to our own lives.


A simple and orderly life represents a clean and orderly mind.”

Would you say you are leading a SIMPLE and orderly life?  The reality is  – life in 2012 is extremely complex.  We own more things and have more food, church and career choices than any generation before us.  We have more voices speaking into our lives through computer technology than ever before.  Life is complex…and it’s affecting our ability to think clearly.

“Muddled thinking inevitably results in muddled living.”

Because our thinking has become muddled by so much information – our living has become muddled.   If we are not filtering all of the information we read through God’s word – we will lack the peace of God that will guard our hearts and minds that Philippians 4:7 speaks of.

“A house that is cluttered is usually lived in by people whose minds are also cluttered, who need to simplify their lives.” 

Look around your house  – would you say it’s simple or cluttered?  Elizabeth suggests that a house that is cluttered usually (there are exceptions to this) is lived in by people whose minds are cluttered.  So if you are not the exception and you live in a cluttered house – the solution to get some clear thinking back is to declutter.  But how and where do we begin?

 “This begins with simplifying and clarifying their thinking.” 

Recently I cleaned through our stacks of bins on tall shelves that I keep in our garage.   As I pulled down the bins and took a peak inside I was mortified at the junk I was keeping!  I had old Elmo party decorations that I used for my son’s second birthday and I thought I might use them again – so I was storing them…my son is 9!  I had decorations I bought the first year of our marriage stored in case I might want to use them again someday…you know – in case I change our color scheme!  We’ve been married 14 years!  I had old college newspapers…why?  I don’t know why? I guess at the time I couldn’t part with them!  Clearly I’m going to end up on the show “Hoarders” if I don’t start getting rid of these things! lol!

  “Mind and life need to be freed from the “disorder of the unnecessary.”

And there’s our challenge!

Week  4′s Challenge:
Prayfully identify one unnecessary thing you can eliminate from your life.  Is there a room, cupboard or closet you need to clean out?  Clean it out this week!  If clutter is not an issue for you - maybe it’s your calender.  Is it so jam packed full with to-do’s that there’s no room for you to think and pray clearly?  Prayfully eliminate something from your calender.  Are you spending too much time on your computer, ipad or watching too much television?  Choose to limit your time this week – in exchange for some quiet moments of reflection, being in God’s word, praying or reading a mind enriching book.

 Be brave and throw out anything in your house you have not used or worn in over a year.  Be brave and limit your children’s activities that require the family to be on the run 24/7.  Be brave and quit saying “yes” to every opportunity that comes your way!  (I just sent an email this morning to the 3rd media company this year that would like to do a television interview.  I didn’t even bother to hear their pitch – I simply said – “my plate is full” because it is and there is no way it could be God’s will for me to give any more time to my on-line ministry during this season of my children’s lives – no matter how inviting the offer.)

You know the saying “If the devil can’t make you bad – he’ll make you busy.” Let’s not be the ones caught in that trap!!!

What one unnecessary thing are you going to eliminate from your life this week?  Leave a comment letting me know your commitment and if you are a blogger, write about this challenge or the past 3 week’s challenges and link-up below!

Walk with the King,

 

5 Disciplines – Week 3 ~ Spirit

 Week 1 & 2 Update:  My week 1 personal goal was to lose 5 pounds in 5 weeks and so far I’m at 2 pounds lost…right on target.  My week 2 personal goal was to pray over my to-do list each day.  I made some really long to-do lists…I’m not sure what I was thinking lol! I fell really short at getting everything done that I wanted to get done…old habits die hard…I’m still learning to pray “thy will be done” and not “my list be done.”  I’m using the “Plan of Attack” from Saturday’s post this week – we’ll see if I do a little better? How are you doing with the first 2 week’s challenges?  Let me know in the comment section – this is your accountability :)!

Onward into week 3!  The Discipline of the week is – Spirit.

My son just took his Karate test to earn his second degree orange belt last Thursday evening.  One lesson he is learning through his training is discipline.  He is always to address those over him as sir or mam.  He must always obey completely or he hits the deck for one push up.  The three lessons they repeat each week are in respect, discipline and tenacity.

Tenacity – I like that word!  Tenacious means:  persistent in maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired.

As disciples of Jesus, we must persistently seek after God.

How tenacious are we in our walk with God?

It’s hard in this fast paced, fast food, facebook type of culture to simply turn off all the distracting dings and just sit at the feet of Jesus.  Let’s be honest, we have 10 times more distractions than our grandparents ever had.  And that means we are going to have to be 10 times more tenacious to maintain our walk with God.

“Life Management is really spiritual life management”. ~ Elizabeth George

I know that we may be tempted to say we don’t have time to read God’s word but let me suggest that reading God’s word does not have to take time.  Let me explain.  If you want to do an indepth study or read through the Bible in a year or journal long passages – it’s going to take time… lots of time and truthfully it’s going to be the best time of your life!!!

But grace reminds us that in some seasons of life we truly are up to our ears in bottles, binkies, babies and blankies.  Others of us have plates so full they look like platters!  Clearly – just from our first two challenges – many of us are overwhelmed by the daunting task of trying to get organized and take care of our own health…and so if you think I’m about to pour on *guilt* because you are not reading your Bible daily…breathe a sigh of relief.

The Bible does not command us to have a daily quiet time!

The Bible gives us examples to follow:

~Jesus got alone early in the morning with God to pray. (Mark 1:35)

~Daniel – a tenacious man of discipline – prayed three times a day – morning, noon and night. (Daniel 6:10)

~David – the writer of the Psalms – poured out his heart to God in all seasons of life – morning, noon, night, in times of fear, weakness, sadness, joy and delight.

David’s Psalm 63

1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
(see his tenacity!)

6 On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
7 Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your right hand upholds me.

 Cling tenaciously to God.  Circumstances are going to stand in the way!  Don’t let your grip slip!

Week 3′s Challenge:
Purpose to not read ANYTHING else before you have read God’s word for at least 1 minute in the morning Do not read the newspaper, facebook, a spiritual devotional  or check your email.  Go straight to God’s word first.  And in case you think 1 minute seems a bit stingy with our time – I want to suggest – that once you get started most likely you will go for much longer than 1 minute.  But I want this to be doable.  After reading your Bible, I encourage you to leave your Bible in the kitchen open and everytime you walk past it, pause to read it for 15 seconds and then go on.  Squeeze all the nourishment you can out of the scriptures you are reading. 

If you feel like you have NO clue where to start reading in God’s word, I recommend you go to I John or the Gospel of John. I currently am having my quiet times in the book of Mark – the shortest gospel.  Come back tomorrow when I share my personal reading plan for the summer.    You can print it and read along with me!

Alright my tenacious friends!  Who’s in?

Who is willing to commit the first minute of everyday to time in God’s Word?  Leave a comment letting me know your commitment and if you are a blogger, write about this challenge or the past 2 week’s challenges and link-up below!

 Walk with the King,


5 Disciplines~Week 2 – Time Management

First let me begin with a Week 1 update:  My “Body Challenge” goal was to lose 5 pounds in 5 weeks.  As of today, I have lost 1 1/2 pounds and I think if I eat one jelly bean I will gain this pound back.  lol!  So this means I must continue to skip my after dinner snack and exercise 20 minutes, 3+ times a week to maintain this loss and continue to lose more.  If you took the week one challenge and have an update – please leave it in the comment section – this is your accountability :)!

Now let’s move into week two’s Discipline –  Time Management!

One thing I have realized this week as I’ve tried to add in exercise is that it’s hard for me to find time.  Basically, it appears that I’m using all my time doing something I want or need to be doing – which means I have to stop doing something in order to add in exercise…which I really don’t feel like doing…so it’s easy to just think “I don’t have time.”   I have it – it’s just not how I want to spend it! :(

Elizabeth Elliot says in her book Discipline-The Glad Surrender:Time management, a highly developed science today, begins for the Christian with time set aside for God.  Other things cannot fall into a peaceful order if this is omitted.”

Here is why time management begins with our time spent with God…how will we know how to spend our time – what we should commit to and what we should say “no” to, if we are not in communion with God?

As God’s children we should be praying “Thy will be done” but often times we are praying “my list be done.” 

The mistake here is that we may put onto our own plate more than God would put on our plate  – and as a result raise our stress levels to extremely high levels.

Jesus says – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”~ Matthew 11:28,29

When our stress levels are high – it is nearly impossible to be kind, patient, gentle and in tune with our husband and children.  We are too busy to stop to care and there is absolutely no room for error in the day.  We need to guard our time so there is room to breathe – room to kiss booboos, read a mind stretching-soul inspiring book, soak in a bubble bath or linger long with your husband in bed.  These are gifts that God has given us to enjoy.

What gifts have you turned down from God because you are over-committed or pursuing the wrong things?

 “There is always enough time to do the will of God.”~Elizabeth Elliot

I love schedules.  God created us as creatures of habit and we see in creation a natural rhythm as the sun sets and rises day after day and the seasons change one after another every.single.year.

There are some things set into our weeks that we can’t escape.  We all have to cook, clean and do laundry.  So why not create a rhythm in our homes to accomplish the mundane, so we are free to enjoy fun, family and fellowship!  Here’s an example of my cleaning schedule:

This schedule guarantees that everything gets done at least once a week…truthfully…some of these things need to be done twice a week.  By about day 5 – the house looks like a tornado :(  I know this schedule cannot work for everyone (especially doing laundry just one day a week for large families) BUT it’s a good place to start.  And it’s time to be pro-active and think through what DOES work.

If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. ~ Zig Ziglar

Week 2 – Challenge:
1.  Sit down and look at your calendar.  Think about your priorities.
2.  Pray and ask God to give you wisdom as to what you should be doing with your time.
3.  Write out a list of what you need to get done this week – don’t forget to write in time with God!  (you can use the free printable below as a guide :) !)
4.  Every morning this week, look over your to-do list.  Pray and ask God for wisdom.  Add, take away or move things on your list accordingly.
5. Continue this discipline next week and the week after.  Soon you will find order and rhythm to your days and weeks.

5 Weeks 5 Disciplines – Time Management

Here’s last week’s printable if you need a fresh one for the new week:
5 Weeks 5 Disciplines – Body
Are you taking the Time Management Challenge – tell us in the comment section? 

If you have any time management tips, please share them!!! 

If you are a blogger – write about it, post this button in your post or side bar and then link-up below!

Walk with the King,

New Series: 5 Weeks 5 Disciplines 5 Challenges

In the past, all of my series have been about how we can minister to others…for example the Marriage Challenge was about blessing our husbands, The Making Your Home a Haven Challenge for our familes,  The Gentleness Challenge for our children.  But THIS challenge is going to be all about US!

I’ve learned that much of my ability to bless my husband, children and manage my home - stems from how disciplined I am.

So for the next 5 weeks I’m going to be working on 5 Disciplines following 5 Challenges. 

The 5 areas of Discipline are:

Mind, Body, Spirit, Work & Time

Elizabeth Elliot writes: “Discipline, for a Christian, begins with the body.  We have only one.  It is this body that is the primary material given to us for sacrifice.  If we didn’t have this, we wouldn’t have anything.  We are meant to present it, offer it up, give it unconditionally to God for His purposes. This we are told is a “spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Let me be honest – some of my eating and lack of exercising habits hold a half nelson on me.  I start and stop my routines like a school bus on its route.  I run for a week and then don’t run for two weeks making that one week of running feel obsolete.  I follow weight watchers for 2 weeks and lose 2 pounds, then reward myself with 2 weeks off and gain 3 pounds.  January of 2011, I gave up drinking Diet Coke (some of you may remember) - that lasted about 2 months…sadly I confess, I drink it daily again.

I just feel like I can’t pull it together.  Sometimes I blame it on the blogging – it takes a lot of my free time and gives me a lot of brain clutter at times.  Sometimes I blame it on homeschooling…I think – if my kids went to school outside the home, I could go for an hour long run every morning after they left the house!  Sometimes I blame it on my husband lol!  He hates salads and isn’t fond of fresh veggies with just lean meat for dinner…so I have to make a “real dinner” every night and I don’t have the strength to exchange a yummy meatloaf and mashed potatoes for a salad.

Goodness…enough excuses already right?

The truth is I lack discipline!

Fitting in 20 minutes of cardio a day – is possible…and exchanging my high carb salty snacks for fruit is possible. Going to bed an hour earlier is possible but I lack of discipline.

Elizabeth Elliot goes on to write:

The Christian’s body houses not only the Holy Spirit Himself, but the Christian’s heart, will, mind and emotions – all that plays a part in our knowing God and living for Him…the body was a gift to me.  Whether I will thank God for it and offer it as a holy sacrifice is for me to decide.”

Holiness is rarely a driving force for “getting fit” but I must admit that Elizabeth’s use of Romans 12:1 touches me profoundly. And so that brings us to our first challenge on the list of disciplines!

Week 1 Challenge:

Name 1 healthy habit that you would like to work on establishing in your life over the next 5 weeks.  It could be cutting back on junk food, fast food, or soda pop.  It could be to exercise more, drink more water, or get more sleep.  Name it in the comments section…often times we are more apt to follow through on committments when we have told someone else!

My personal goal is to lose 5 pounds in 5 weeks through more exercise and better food choices.

I have gained 20 pounds over the last 3 years and I have tried to lose them multiple times only to gain them right back…so rather than aiming to lose them all quickly – I’m going to pace myself.  My goal for the next 5 weeks will be to lose 5 pounds.  Then the following 5 weeks, I will continue to work to lose the next 5 pounds…and so on.

Here is my printout I created for myself –  I’ll be logging my weekly progress on it.  If you’d like to use it too – feel free to print it!

5 Weeks 5 Disciplines – Body

I’ll be visiting the Christian Fitness Blog – Peak 313 - for inspiration and to follow her aerobic and weight training videos. I also really like Denise Austin’s workout videos that I have found on youtube (just enter her name in the search box and tons will come up for free! :) )

If you are a blogger and are joining me for the 5 Weeks 5 Disciplines Series – feel free to “save as” this button below and paste it somewhere in a blog post or on your side bar and then link up below!  We’d love to read what healthy habit you are working on!

If you are not a blogger but joining me for this ride – let me know in the comment section!  It’s good to know we are not alone sometimes :)!

Walk with the King,