Discipline and Order
God created the world with a proper order. We know that. He formed our bodies to work: eyes to see, lungs to breathe, heart to pump, legs to run. We know, many of us from heartbreaking experience, that when one part is out of order, the rest of the body suffers.
Beyond the human body, God's entire creation is created in perfect order: from the top to the bottom of the food chain, to plants, to microscopic cells. Everything has an order, and ultimately, all of that ordered creation points to its Creator.
Our lives are the same. They are created with a purpose, an end, and an order. We are called to keep our lives ordered to the One who created them, to God Himself. In a properly ordered life, anything and everything I do should be aimed at glorifying the God who loves me into existence.
To have a life that is properly order to God takes discipline, which is something I severely lack.
In fact, it is ironic that I am writing this right now. God has a sense of humor, and a very creative way of calling me on, because between the summer schedule of a youth minister, traveling, and the lack of routine that summer brings, I have failed day in and day out in the department of discipline, and my life is currently anything but ordered. However, I am striving. Nowhere near perfect, but God is still glorified in the fight.
This is where the running part of my life has collided in an unexpected way with my relationship with the Lord. I've heard people say that there is nothing in the world you can do that takes more discipline than distance running. While I am sure that is up there on the list, I would have to disagree. Striving for holiness takes all the discipline I can muster. Add tons and tons of God's grace to that, and we just might get close to the virtue that God desires for us.
But what I have found over the years of running, curiously, is that discipline in one area of my life can't be contained to that one area. When I am disciplined in my schoolwork, I find I am more on top of emails at work. When I wake up early to pray, I spend less time on Netflix and get out for a run first thing after work. When I eat less sugar and more vegetables, I fight off thoughts of anger, jealously or judgement. Okay, that last one might be a stretch, but I have found this simple fact to be so true in my life over and over again. And it all started with running.
I have found time and time again when I am adhering to a work out schedule strictly, when I am fighting down every excuse that comes up to work out, I do the same with prayer. When I set my alarm twenty minutes earlier than I need to so that I can start my day with the Lord, it is a lot easier to stick to that run I have scheduled after work later that day. Really, everything in my day is easier when I start with that kind of discipline, because my day is ordered properly
Getting up for a 5am workout means discipline. Going to Adoration to spend time with the Lord after a long day at work means discipline. Choosing to love my roommates, my friends, my co-workers, and my family well means discipline. And all this discipline, again, combined with grace, is what leads to a life properly ordered to the One who created it.
So starting today, I will make a new workout schedule. I will set my alarms to remind me to pray. I will strive to order my life to the Lord, with a little bit more discipline and a whole lot of grace.
"But let all things be done decently, and according to order." 1 Corinthians 14:40
I will be praying for you! Running has been a discipline kick-start for me. When my prayer life and stellar and my running life is solid, sometimes I think nothing can stop me. :)
Brianna St. Amour is a Middle School Youth Minister just outside St. Paul, MN. She is a Minnesota transplant from Northern Vermont who misses hiking in the Green Mountains but has traded it for exploring the Twin Cities (when its not too cold to breath!) She loves New England Sports, Golf, running, biking, and telling people about what Jesus has done in her life. Coffee, Mass, sunshine, baseball, friends and wine are ingredients for the perfect day.