Have you ever heard the phrase: “The freedom of discipline”? It’s ironic. Don’t you think. A little too ironic. To think that the power to act, speak, or think as one wants, (without hinderance or restraint), comes through the practice of being trained to obey rules or a code of behaviour is…… well it’s almost ludicrous.
I’m not exactly sure when I first heard that phrase, but it always reminds me of conversations I had with a mentor of mine about the domestic side of life.
I am one of those people who isn’t exactly worried about being perceived as ‘having it all together’. My house is usually a mess, (although not the same mess as yesterday because I really am trying), I’m often wearing sweats and a mom ponytail, (let’s be honest, skinny jeans are not conducive to chasing an energizer-bunny toddler), and with the exception of Christmas dinner, (my fave!), I am hopeless in the kitchen even after 9 years of being in charge of feeding a family. This is my current reality and I will not become a hermit as I am growing and learning, but where I am now is not where I always want to be.
I would like to have a home that people can drop by to and feel relaxed in, at any time.
I would like to be in a grocery store with my 5 high-energy kids and not have my frump overshadow my joy.
I would like to feel comfortable in my kitchen, without rocking in the corner, curled in the fetal position, dialling our local pizza place.
But changing my reality would take so much work. So much effort. So much energy. So much discipline. And how could anything that takes that much slavery ever be considered freedom?
I wrote the first part of this post over a week ago. Then I got stuck. I didn’t know how to pull my thoughts together, everything seemed to be rambling in my brain. While I was trying to fall asleep last night I had one of those ‘AHA’ moments that put it all into perspective and lined up my wandering ponderings.
The freedom that discipline provides is the freedom to be who we really are.
I am a hospitable person. I love throwing parties. I enjoy doing that crazy mom thing where movie night involves crafts and family created snacks, not just popping in a movie. IF I have spent my days disciplined about housework, I free myself to invite people over without worrying if I’ll be judged. IF I have kept up with my domestic duties my family can enjoy their time in our space instead of wondering why we don’t just go out to have fun.
The freedom of domestic discipline frees me up to be hospitable and makes our house a home.
I am an encouraging person and like to give ALOT to others. But that’s hard to see, hard to look past what I appear. IF I have been disciplined to spend appropriate time taking care of myself, big things like going to the gym and small things like straightening my hair- then people see me and wonder, ‘How did she get so lucky?’. When I am undisciplined, looking rushed and frumpy and like I’ve sacrificed everything and then some to be a mother of 5, people see me and wonder, ‘I’m so lucky I’m not her.” They let me go ahead of them in the grocery store line, they don’t expect that I have anything more to offer.
The freedom of personal discipline frees me up to be an encouragement, and people will give me opportunity to bless and serve them.
I am a person who loves to learn new things. I was pretty good at my academic pursuits and I know how to navigate exploring new topics. Food overwhelms me. Or more specifically choosing what to eat, and how to fit that in a budget overwhelms me. But IF I am disciplined to treat it like learning about the Medieval Ages, or memorizing the Periodic Table, then I could feed my family better, and with confidence. Right now it’s like that 100 page thesis paper, and all I have is my opening statement.
The freedom of being disciplined is that there is space to take risks, and time to explore what I do not know.
I’m starting to see how something that is so hard can be freeing, how discipline begins really rough but once adopted the benefits far outweigh the sacrifices. Another change in perspective, one that could change my life, if I take my thoughts and put them into action. The freedom of discipline, maybe not so ironic after all?
It’s like rain on your wedding day.
A free ride, when you’ve already paid.
The good advice that you just didn’t take.
Who would’ve thought…. it figures.