Photography: Finding Joy in the Ordinary
I didn’t kill it as much as I wanted to this month. We went on vacation and moved into a new apartment within a week of each other and are leaving again next week. All great things, but really busy things that fought for my time and attention. I sort of dropped the ball when it came to my quiet times. They were really inconsistent and my mind was so focused on these other things. At the beginning of September, I thought that I would just re-establish how amazing discipline is throughout the month.
The main lesson I ended up learning is how important grace is for discipline.
Honestly, discipline is sort of my jam. It’s something that I lacked in college and I’ve been determined to master it since then. I’ve come a long way and am proud of the progress but still have a lot to learn. I’m sure this is a lifelong thing, too. If you’re great with discipline or on the discipline struggle bus, either way I can relate.
One thing I’ve learn, especially this month, is that you can’t have great discipline without grace. This applies to the spiritual disciplines, self-discipline with health + fitness tope things, and even with discipline in parenting. Failure with discipline is inevitable. It’s not a question of “if,” but of “when.” Sometimes we fail big time and need a total come-to-Jesus face off with grace and sometimes we just have an off week where we lose focus. With any level of failure, we must meet it with grace – whether it’s grace straight from the Lord or it’s the grace we give ourselves because we have a healthy and Godly perspective of ourselves.
It’s really tough to give yourself grace if you don’t view yourself the way God views you. Of course, it’s impossible to view yourself 100% the same way as God, but it’s necessary to have a Godly perspective of yourself. When we place our identities in Christ and our individual purposes in Him, it’s easier to give grace in the moments where we mess up because we know we need it and we know it is freely given. Having a Godly perspective of yourself is powerful in itself, but especially with grace. I know that in times when I’ve been really distant from God, it’s hard for me to get back into the relationship with Him because I feel so guilty. My unhealthy view of myself prevents me from turning back to Him and accepting His grace. When we’re in the word and in constant communication with the Lord, it’s much easier to accept some grace and move forward.
Something I’ve noticed in the past few weeks is that the closer I am with the Lord the better discipline I have – including the spiritual disciplines, but also with sleep/health and fitness/etc. This may sound like an obvious thing, but it really wasn’t obvious for me. Looking back, I used vacation and moving as excuses to let my whole life get crazy. I allowed those things to make me frazzled every day – making it hard to spend time with the Lord every day. I was really inconsistent and was constantly stepping over the line of grace to enabling. In order to stop this from happening you have to really know yourself. You have to know your tendencies and weaknesses. One of my weaknesses is creating an unnecessary busy schedule. It wasn’t until the busy schedule ran out that I saw what was happening.
You know what I’m going to do?
I’m going to choose grace. I’m going to accept it straight from the Lord. I know how God feels about me and I know His promises are true. A few inconsistent weeks doesn’t sound like too much, but can be draining to your soul. If you’re in the same position as me – recovering from “busyness” and the guilt that follows it – then choose grace today.
“But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2: 4 – 6
– Caitlin –