SELF-ASSURANCE VS. SELF-DISCPLINE
Do you think that words matter? If you were to describe yourself, what words would you choose and why? What about if you had to describe your life and how you respond to it, what words would you choose to do so? Take a moment to think about it. I think it’s important to know, because I just realized that the word I used to describe a trait about myself has been completely inaccurate and I’ve basically been speaking a word curse over my life the past 20+ years. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” What we say about ourselves and others matter. You hear a lot about positive self-talk and how it can change how you think and feel about yourself. It is true. The Bible says that “those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart and they defile a man.” (Matthew 15:18). They defile a man because the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). These scriptures don’t mention the mind or that we as people “speak our minds”. We actually speak from our hearts and what’s in them. What is in our hearts, stems from our mind. I believe this to mean that, as the Word says, we can take our thoughts captive, we are not a slave to our thoughts, but instead, we have control over them. I could go so much deeper on this topic alone but I’ll save that for another day.
The point is we speak, from our hearts, what we believe about ourselves. So what we say about our personal lives can be changed by taking our thoughts captive, renewing our minds (Romans 12:2) and changing our hearts, which ultimately changes our responses. WOW, that was a mouthful. So what was the word I was using to describe myself? I was telling myself and others around me that I was not “Disciplined”. This word didn’t necessarily apply to every area of my life but it was one that I used to describe myself when I was attempting to accomplish things on my own (outside of work, school and church).
MY REVELATION OF GOD’S TRUTH
I recently embarked on an adventure backpacking through the mountains and the Lord revealed to me that I didn’t believe in myself. Some people I know would agree to an extent and others would be shocked to read this. However, after a lot of time with the Lord on that mountain (5 days off the grid), I realized, or better yet accepted, the fact that what He was saying was true. I had never actually said it out loud until that moment on the mountain and it released me from something in me that has held me captive for way too long. I WAS disciplined. How can someone who isn’t disciplined attend school full-time online (13-15 hours per semester, year long), complete an internship/ intensive courses while also working full-time (8-12 hours per day)? Mind you, I also served in my church faithfully while maintaining an acceptable GPA (it was hard lol but I graduate with a BS and MA) and was promoted at work. How, if I’m that undisciplined? I’m not boasting in myself. That accomplishment manifested ONLY by the grace and with the help of God. I prayed a lot, cried a lot, wanted to give in many times. Many, many times. However, I have been able to trudge through a lot of difficult moments in my life. The fact that I am undisciplined is just simply not the TRUTH. It wasn’t God’s truth so, therefore, it is NOT my truth.
The truth was I didn’t believe in myself, and the evidence of that was me quitting certain things over the course of my life, as well as fearing the unknown and assuming failure or disappointment. I was afraid to fail, afraid to look stupid. So I stepped away from certain things that could have opened many doors in my life. I can’t live in regret. What I am grateful for is the ability to hear from the Lord and the willingness to actually listen to what He has to say about me and the posture/state of my heart.
WHAT IS DISCPLINE?
So what exactly is discipline. I recently saw a video of Mike Tyson talking about discipline. He said that “Discipline is doing what you hate to do as if you love it.” He also said that “you give up with the slightest struggle without discipline.” Merriam Webster defines discipline as “control gained by enforcing obedience or order, orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior; self-control.” What Mike Tyson said stood out to me because I’ve accomplished a lot of difficult things in my life without quitting and succeeding in the process. However, what I learned looking back over my life is that the things I quit or ran away from, were things that I lacked confidence in. Feeling like I wouldn’t succeed or would do it wrong, and fear of failing so I just wouldn’t try at all. What the Lord showed me on that mountain was that I am able to focus and do hard things, impossible things, as long as I believe in myself. I have the discipline, I just needed the belief.
GETTING STARTED IN CHANGING YOUR THOUGHTS
What area do you lack confidence in? Is there anything, or do you have it all together? You might but, I think if we all look deeper, there are areas in our lives that we can look at and speak life into. It could be in how we feel about our looks, success in our jobs, marriage, or raising our children. I challenge you to choose an area you’ve been speaking negatively into and find 3 ways you can renew your mind with phrases or scriptures you can speak over yourself. Keep track of how you feel during this challenge and apply it to more areas, including choosing life-giving words for others as well. You’ll see that over time, your outlook will have changed and you’ll even begin walking in your new belief system, accomplishing more than you could have imagined. With your belief in God and yourself, absolutely ANYTHING is possible. And remember, our belief in our own capabilities stems from total surrender and trust in the Lord that HE has equipped you to fulfill your purpose. Belief in ourselves to do impossible things can only come from walking alongside the Lord and trusting that He is our strength. We CAN, because HE SAYS WE CAN! He is our source in ALL things, including believing His word and what it says about us as His children.
3 Steps to take your thoughts Captive:
Identify areas you speak negatively about regarding yourself.
Write down those negative thoughts and say out loud that you no longer partner with those thoughts and replace it with something positive. (Ex: “I am not disciplined” “I no longer agree with the lie that I am not disciplined. Instead I am created in the image of God who is the most creative, focused and intention minded being that ever existed.”
Find 3 scriptures that you can use to speak over yourself daily until your thoughts change. Personalize the scripture. I have listed a few below to start with.
Genesis 1:27 “So God created Man in His own image; in the image of God He created Him; male and female He created them.”
1 Peter 2: 9: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
Psalm 139:14 “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well.”
As I say to my girls each day “Now GO, you’re amazing!”