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Women Living Well Blog: New Beginnings - How To Become More Self-Disciplined

Women Living Well Blog

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Beginnings - How To Become More Self-Disciplined

I just enjoyed spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with my family and friends.  I took the week off from all social media and found it to be refreshing - yet I am very happy to be back in action this week!  I just love you all here and those in my blogging/twitter/facebook/youtube community!

And so this week, is a new beginning.  I come back to my keyboard refreshed and renewed!  And ready to do this journey of life with you all again.

This tree stands in our front yard.  It's an Oak tree that has tenaciously held its dead leaves all through the winter.  But spring is here and as the new buds begin to appear the leaves will fall to the ground.

As I look at those dead leaves, I am reminded of all the things in my life that are just dead - a waste of space and time. Why do I hold on dearly to these things and how can I make a permanent change to rid myself of dead things in my life?

Like the Oak tree, until I create new life in the space the dead thing holds, I will never change.  And so just as a new year brings new beginnings - spring brings new beginnings!

When we think of making a change we are reminded that a permanent change requires self-discipline. And the Oak tree shows us how adding in something new - pushes out the old.

For example - rather than saying, "I'm going to stop drinking Diet Coke" (which I did this past January), I said - "I'm going to drink more water". By adding in this new goal - it pushed out the old.

This works in many areas of our lives. Rather than always feeling discouraged for our lack of discipline we ought to pursue the new thing we are adding in and by default the old will be replaced.

Pursue rising 30 minutes earlier for a morning quiet time and the old habit of sleeping till the kids wake you will be pushed out. Just set the alarm - it really is that easy...oh and get out of bed when it goes off lol!

Pursue running 3 times a week and the old habit of watching television with chips in your lap will be pushed out.

Pursue folding your laundry the minute it comes out of the dryer and the big piles of unfolded laundry will disappear.

Here are some areas I am pursuing new beginnings and self-discipline:

1.  I want to add in time alone outside on my back deck for prayer.  This time will have to come when the children are sleeping - either early morning or late night.  (Standing in front of the vastness of the ocean and the expanse of the sky with the birds flying overhead reminded me that I need this.  I need quiet moments out in the open nature to be alone with God daily.  I hope it will enhance my prayer life and writing.)

2.  I want to start systematic spring cleaning.  I will be writing out a list of problem areas and working my way (in baby steps) through them until the end of May.

3.  I want to add in some new foods that are healthier to my diet.  I will be following my friend Clare's blog for some new ideas to try. (and I might even get wild and crazy and attend her fitness class - although it means missing precious morning time for homeschooling - so I'm undecided on that.)

4.  I want to add in some new memory verses to do with the children.  My children just finished their Sunday evening club work where we were memorizing verses together.  I can't wait to scour God's word, pray and pick some new verses for us to memorize together this spring!

While these are all great goals, I know that I cannot reach any of them without self-discipline.  I'm reminded of Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." ESV

What is weighing you down today?  What space, time or thing in your life is simply dead - it's not producing anything good in your life?  Lay those things aside and run - pursue - pursue with endurance daily disciplines that make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you.

Walk with the King!

This is linked to Titus 2sdays, We Are That Family, Raising Homemakers and A Holy Experience.

Today's post is a part of the "Put Your House In Order" Series. Please visit the ladies below!

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    Anonymous Bek said...

    Love this post. You are so right. It is hard to eliminate things but to substitute them for positive things brings greater success. I think that is because we don't condemn ourselves when we fall in this as much. To take your example of drinking water. When your goal is to drink more water, you still allow yourself the Diet Coke, just infrequently. Whereas, if you had been trying to 'quit' the habit you would have had guilt and condemnation if you had one. It is amazing what grace can do for your goals.

    April 4, 2011 at 7:13 AM  
    Blogger Jackie Koll said...

    Thank you for this post - I've been struggling with some areas and this was a great way to focus on the positive instead of the negitive (what I'm gaining instead of what I'm losing)

    April 4, 2011 at 7:34 AM  
    Blogger Mrs. White said...

    I love the idea of adding a new thing, which will help push away an old habit. Very wise!

    So glad you had a nice vacation!

    Mrs. White
    The Legacy of Home

    April 4, 2011 at 7:43 AM  
    Blogger Evelien said...

    I think I should eat healthier and exercise more regularly but I too miss the discipline!
    It's a big struggle for me...

    April 4, 2011 at 7:56 AM  
    Anonymous Jen Kindle said...

    I've been working on this very thing. I made a list of everything I want to accomplish and then I made a list of the stuff I find myself doing instead everything else. I was trying to figure out what to do next when I saw your Post. Thank you for the ideas.

    April 4, 2011 at 8:04 AM  
    Blogger Joy said...

    I love the idea of pushing out the old with something new. I can't wait to see what you post about spring cleaning. I need to do some spring cleaning too :) Thank you for always writing such encouraging and applicable posts!

    April 4, 2011 at 8:05 AM  
    Blogger Kathryn said...

    Thank you so much for this! Exactly what I needed this morning!

    April 4, 2011 at 8:22 AM  
    Blogger Scrapalicious Cereal said...

    Good was using you today. I use to write a blog for year that focused on homeschooling. Many women told me it helped them on their journey. But somehoe I got distracted by digital scrapbooking and started working as a part time digital scrapbooking designer. Now I have all of these deadlines on top of trying to be a wife, homeschooler, mother 2 special need girls and be involved at church. I have been wondering if this is something I need to part with to get back into the blogging community and to make room for getting back to mentoring other women through blogging about what I'm really called to do--homeschooling.

    April 4, 2011 at 8:31 AM  
    Blogger sweet european dreams said...

    hi Courtney. Welcome back! Love this post. I make these massive to-do lists, and they are so overwhelming that I just stare at them and wonder where to start! Baby steps are definitely the key, and a great way to find success along the way. As always, thanks for sharing your heart with us! -diane

    April 4, 2011 at 8:57 AM  
    Blogger Emily Fiore said...

    My husband just mentioned to me recently that I am the most "not stay at homiest, stay at home mom" he knows. So, I am working on evaluating all the activities we do each week and deciding what their purpose is. I know I desire to stay at home and teach my 3 year old more and have daily devotions, but as of yet we have been so "go, go, go" it has been hard to do that so maybe this adjustment will help w/ that. Thanks for the tips.

    April 4, 2011 at 9:17 AM  
    Anonymous Maria said...

    So glad you're back. This post truly spoke to my heart and I plan to meditate on and memorize the Scripture from Hebrew. I was convicted by the Holy Spirit through reading your post to lay aside idle tv watching and replace it with the task that the Lord calls me to. The next two weeks are going to be pretty hectic but I'm inspired by your post and I now have this excitement about what God will do in my midst. Thank you!

    April 4, 2011 at 9:42 AM  
    Blogger Carly said...

    This was great practical logic with the implementing something new rather than just focusing on what you're not supposed to be doing anymore. I'm going to try it! (The doing the laundry as soon as it's done in the dryer... ohhh boy that's on my list!)

    A few book recommendations: So, You Want to Be Like Christ? by Chuck Swindoll (listed as Charles R. Swindoll for this particular book) Talks about "Eight Essentials to get you there" 1. Intimacy: Deepening Our Lives 2. Simplicity: Uncluttering Our Minds 3. Silence and Solitude: Slowing Our pace 4. Surrender: Releasing Our Grip 5. Prayer: Calling Out 6. Humility: Bowing Low 7. Self-Control: Holding Back 8. Sacrifice: Giving Over.

    Also, Crazy Love by Francis Chan. It will lend well to the above topics but isn't really directly related. It is a life-changer that my husband and I read together as a devotional and now we are buying a few copies each paycheck and sending them to people we know with letters!

    Glad you're back, Courtney. :o)

    April 4, 2011 at 9:53 AM  
    Anonymous Shannon said...

    Welcome Back! I missed your posts while you were gone but I'm glad you enjoyed your break.

    I feel like the place I'm closest with God is at the ocean. I look at it in awe that God created it and feel a certain peace in its beauty.

    I'm glad you mentioned the "pushing out" of things in our lives. I had some old anger issues toward my husband that resurfaced during my insomnia but I asked God to remove them from my mind because I need to focus on today and tomorrow, not yesterday.

    April 4, 2011 at 10:24 AM  
    Anonymous Carolynn @ said...

    Thank you for this, I've always had this mind set when it came to Lent and giving things up/starting new things, but never thought to apply to the rest of the year!

    April 4, 2011 at 10:31 AM  
    Anonymous Christin/Joyful Mothering said...

    Oh my, so, so good! I wish I could visit all the ladies in this series, but alas, I don't have time. :( I am too busy trying to get my house in order, LOL.
    Seriously,though. The Homemakers Challenge I run each Friday on my blog? It's keeping ME busy on helping me get my home in order. This week? We're working on implementing one part of our schedule into action. For me, it's early morning rising. :) Today was a success!
    I loved your tips and your goals. :) Hugs!!

    April 4, 2011 at 10:40 AM  
    Blogger Claire said...

    Welcome back!


    April 4, 2011 at 11:36 AM  
    Blogger Carla M. Turner said...

    Great post! These days, I find myself needing those moments of silence so desperately, so I am making time... And it makes such a positive difference on our entire day (we homeschool too). This has been a good quote for me:

    "We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature- trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars the moon and the sun how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls." ~Mother Teresa

    Silence (just a little)... to be able to touch souls, at home, and everywhere.

    Read the post called Sweet Dreams and Starlight, here:

    Most sincerely, ~Carla =)

    April 4, 2011 at 12:12 PM  
    Anonymous Niki said...

    So glad you enjoyed your vacation!!
    Your post is so timely. I have been replacing my food cravings with God cravings!! I am reading "Made to Crave" by Lysa TerKeurst. It is so insightful and a very in-depth study of Scripture.
    Keep pressing on!

    April 4, 2011 at 12:32 PM  
    Blogger Becki said...

    I love the idea of spending time alone outside. Now that the weather is changing, I have a similar goal -- to spend mornings with my Bible and notebook on the back porch swing. Yay for spring! :)

    I also love the idea of running pushing out the bad habit of eating chips. Maybe that'll be next! ;)

    April 4, 2011 at 12:40 PM  
    Blogger Kalyn said...

    Self-discipline is so hard.....even if you are a fairly organized individual like myself. But when you struggle with depresssion, it gives you a complete lack of energy and hinders any progress toward self-discipline. I am working on getting up every morning with an attitude of, "What can I accomplish for You today, Lord?" and it helps me maintain my productiveness.

    April 4, 2011 at 12:49 PM  
    Blogger Heidi said...

    I need help in the self-discipline area too... this was really encouraging for me, thanks for sharing! Love the positive spin on embracing a new habit :)

    April 4, 2011 at 1:27 PM  
    Blogger Hope said...

    Reading your blog during my mid-day lull (it is in this time of day that I start to feel far away from God) and your post was just what I needed to hear. Your words gave me just the things I needed to ponder on and remind myself of the things I wanted to work on as I live this life. The first big question for me was - what do I want to be different? Sometimes I can just get myself on auto pilot or think that things are 'wonderful' because I checked something off my to-do list. There is more to this life and I want to pursue that. Thank you!

    April 4, 2011 at 1:46 PM  
    Blogger Emily @CreativeDisaster said...

    Wonderful post! I shared my "new beginnings" on my blog. Glad you had a wonderful media break and trip to the beach!

    April 4, 2011 at 2:03 PM  
    Blogger Homeschool on the Croft said...

    I absolutely say 'Amen' to what you've written here. There is sooooo much dead leaf in my life, and as you spoke of the tree, my immediate thought was that new life will soon get rid of the deadness (just as you went on to say!). I immediately thought of my own life and how I have pledged - in this past week - to read - *really* read my Bible - not just out of duty as I do daily, but as His Living Word to us. To me! I have some time now, so no more commenting, and no more blogging! I'm off to read HIS precious Word, and pray that God would speak to my soul. I long for Him as a deer pants for running water... x

    April 4, 2011 at 2:38 PM  
    Blogger Bringing Pretty Back said...

    Courtney, It is like you were reading my mind!!!! LOVE THIS POST!
    Have a pretty day!

    April 4, 2011 at 5:36 PM  
    Blogger Lady Kara said...

    Very nice post! It's always good to recieve tips and exchange ideas of how we cope with challenges. Clever! Thanks for sharing.

    God bless,

    Lady Kara

    April 4, 2011 at 7:13 PM  
    Blogger Ingrid said...

    Glad you are back and that you had a nice vacation!!

    April 4, 2011 at 9:33 PM  
    Blogger Maria said...

    What a wonderful parable!!! Thank you! You were missed this past week, but I am glad you had some down time- thanks for the inspiration- as always! :)

    April 4, 2011 at 11:10 PM  
    Blogger Leslie and James said...

    Love this! And love your oak!

    "So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified." Isaiah 61:3

    April 4, 2011 at 11:11 PM  
    Blogger Elizabeth Byler Younts said...

    Great way of making good habits. I struggle with so many things I feel like & sometimes don't know where to start. I got up before my girls this morning & it seriously set the stage for such a better day! I was dressed, make-up'd, and ready when their eyes were just starting to twinkle. ;-) Starting somewhere. ;-)

    April 4, 2011 at 11:29 PM  
    Blogger Mel said...

    I'm so sorry others focused on your appearance today, instead of your beautiful words and message. You are truly a joyful, lovely spirit and it glows from your photos and your writing! Keep up the good work girl! God's got your back! :)

    And your FB discussion prompted a blog post for me :)

    Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

    April 4, 2011 at 11:48 PM  
    Blogger MissChickory said...

    As what I call a "failed Christian" I always love your blogs and videos I have to say that this one is a little naive!? It is so not as simple as setting an alarm. Because if you do not HAVE that discipline you just shut the alarm off, like me :o(

    April 5, 2011 at 1:54 AM  
    Blogger Angela said...

    Your post is like a breath of fresh air! Glad you had a great vacation, and glad you're back to posting!

    April 5, 2011 at 8:16 AM  
    Blogger Tiffany said...

    Love this post, thank you for inspiring me! So glad you are back. I missed your positive posts!

    April 5, 2011 at 8:59 AM  
    Blogger Gwen Toliver said...

    Re. self discipline - the Lord always brings to mind the words of Psa. 119:5-6 - "Oh that my ways may be ESTABLISHED to keep Thy commands, then I will not be ashamed when I look upon all Thy statutes."

    It really has to be a purposeful, intentional thing.

    Now for folding the laundry immediately - this is a bit more daunting w/ 9 people in the house as you can imagine :) However, the principle of dealing w/ things right away is a good one to apply!

    April 5, 2011 at 2:08 PM  
    Blogger Dayna (Spear) Guenther said...


    Thanks for you encouraging posts.

    I'm having difficulty on my Mac computer viewing your blog. A lot of white bars show up and I can't view the text underneath the white parts. :( Just wanted to mention it...not sure if I can do something on my end to remedy this.

    April 5, 2011 at 2:08 PM  
    Blogger Rebekah said...

    Not sure if this will help, but there is a national Bible Bee each year. Sign up started April 1st. The goal is to get families to study the Bible together and to memorize verses along with the meanings to those verses, together. Then the kids get to compete if they want in the Fall. Maybe this helps with one of your goals? Not replacing specific Scriptures for your family, but in addition? for info on this wonderful opportunity for families. God bless as you 'press toward' these goals.

    April 5, 2011 at 4:49 PM  
    Blogger The Reeves Family said...

    I saw your post yesterday...I noticed you changed your picture. Am I missing something? Just curious.

    April 5, 2011 at 10:39 PM  
    Blogger Courtney (Women Living Well) said...

    The Reeves Family - yes I mentioned this on my Women Living Well Facebook page - the previous photo had me in a name brand shirt that offended some of my readers - so I took it down. Iron sharpens iron :-)


    April 5, 2011 at 10:44 PM  
    Anonymous 'Becca said...

    You are so right about making a positive change instead of just trying to stop a negative thing!

    Here are some ideas for nutritious foods you might want to add to your diet.

    Miss Chickory, I struggle with the alarm clock too, but I've had some success by giving up the snooze button for 6 weeks--it's a lot easier for months after that, before I backslide!

    April 7, 2011 at 1:43 PM  
    Blogger Sarah said...

    I like the part about healthy eating. Here is one of my favourite healthy food items: avocados. I can eat a whole one in one sitting (but because it is so rich, I'd better not!). Healthy - yes, but still high calorie, so in good measure. Here is my feta omelette (which, aside from the bacon - but I only usually use 1/2 a slice or less - just to get some flavour, is quite healthy). It really gets one going for the day without the carb/sugar rush of many breakfast foods (that create a slump late morning and then all day long):

    April 15, 2011 at 2:23 PM  

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