The last several weeks I have been trying to practice the skill of discipline. Discipline can be defined many ways and while most often I feel like it has negative connotations it is actually a necessary life skill. Since becoming a mom I feel like I’ve learned a lot about discipline. Both in attempting to discipline myself (they say imitation is best form of flattery… until it is your toddler imitating your worst practices you never knew you had!!!) as well as learning what it means to discipline our son.
Recently I have been attempting to foster some equilibrium between living with discipline and living present in the moment. As someone who longs for a balanced life AND checked-off to do lists being a self employed photographer and mama has certainly thrown me some curve balls.
For starters, it doesn’t always seem like I’m making any headway… in anything. I feel like some days I want to celebrate that we are all clothed in clean(ish) clothes and that we ate (reasonably) healthy food for the day. I am sure we all have (many) days like that but thanks to the glories of social media we often wind up hunkered over the counter playing the social media comparison game by 3pm wondering what time is reasonable to begin the bed time (torture) routine and crack open some wine and just give up.
I stumbled upon this awesome article on Ann Voskamp’s blog a little bit ago that has been really on my heart and motivating me to look at life a bit differently. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you take a moment to check it out. The quote that jumped out at me the most was this:
“The pattern in everything is this: the greater joys are obtained through struggle and difficulty and pain—things you must force yourself to do when you don’t feel like it—while brief, unsatisfying, and often destructive joys are as inviting as couch cushions.”
Sometimes you just have to put your big girl panties on and do it. Even when you don’t want to. Even when it’s hard. And always when there is something to do that seems easier or more enticing.
Another awesome quote from a similar post on her blog is “Fire your perfectionism and your procrastination will quit too.”
Last week I had a professional photographers worst nightmare happen. My hard drive died and we found out much of the information was corrupted on that drive. Through amazing people at the Learning Center Ann Arbor (if you have a MAC I would *HIGHLY* recommend them!!!!!!) I found out that all of my information will be saved (YAY! *deep sigh of relief*) thanks to their awesomeness, my obsessive backing up… and God’s grace!! But I haven’t had a machine for more than a week now and that has made me even more hyper aware of how I am spending my time.
What I have learned in this past week is just how much we rely on things that yes, are important but are absolutely not the cornerstone of existence. Despite not having a computer I have been able to take some time to work with a dear friend over the weekend on getting our businesses in order, making goals for the coming year and learn about living intentionally. Has it been convenient, not exactly. But we put on our big girl panties, did the hard work anyways and now through discipline (I really like that word this post… 😉 ) I will have to implement what we have talked about at a later time when it is (most likely) not convenient. And that is ok. That is *real* life.
I wasn’t really planning on ‘giving’ something up for Lent because I prefer to try to do something for lent instead. But after thinking about where I spend my time and seeing how different life is when I have to make conscious choices of how (and where to work). I have decided I am going to be making some huge adjustments in my social media time. I will be practicing the discipline of time management and instead of being on facebook or instagram for passing of time I will have specific goals and time limits. So for the next few weeks it may seem like I am gone but I am still here (and no we did not have the baby 😉 ) I am just choosing more carefully what I allow to influence my time.
They say comparison is the thief of joy and if I am trying to model for our son a more disciplined and intentional life than constantly comparing myself to what others are up to is not giving he nor I the best foundation for success.
So for the next forty days and beyond I am going to try to do one thing a day that I am dreading (yay adult life!!!) as well as fire my perfectionism. Because through discipline we allow ourselves to live a life more intentionally. And really, a perfect life really is no life at all.
There may always be crumbs on the table and dust on the mantle but if I am living a life led in love and grace then the people closest to me won’t be seeing the dust and crumbs. They will be too busy laughing, feeling the love and hopefully feeling inspired to live their life as well.
You only get one life, so let’s use it well.