Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Freedom vs. Discipline

OK, I've got a lot of random thoughts generally pointing to the same topic. I'm surprised at how difficult it's been for me (at times) to discipline myself to do or not to do something. Like, not picking at my fingers, exercising, or only eating when I'm hungry. For about a week, I've made myself do 200 ab excercises before I let myself check my e-mail. This has worked for me so far. But, how sad is that? I can't just determine to excercise everyday, I actually have to bribe myself. Surely God is big enough to free me from being enslaved by these petty things!

I know that we're not under the old laws anymore, but I'm pretty sure discipline is still important. In our American culture, it's so tempting to be a Christian Hedonist. You know...do the right thing in the big stuff, but in the gray areas or little things do whatever feels good or is easiest. We don't tend to view eating as a moral issue, exercise is just a guilt-provoker, it's totally optional when it comes down to it. Destroying my fingers? My choice!

I'm thinking we've lost the art of self-discipline, delayed gratification, and self-control. [MINI-TANGENT PROCEEDING] It's funny, I'd been thinking about the cyclical nature of life, how it's so unavoidable (wash the laundry, it gets dirty again, etc.) that God must have totally wanted us to take notice, then the pastor at this little church we've been attending preaches his sermon on cycles. To incorporate a thought he (Pastor Josh McDonald) had into this discussion [AND WE'RE BACK!] perhaps biting my fingers is me in the midst of an unhealthy cycle...perhaps, discipline, self-control are practices that help me move into a healthy cycle (ie. not hurting my fingers).

I guess the silly struggle I'm having is that once upon a time, I was a super-duper structured, read my Bible every day kind of girl, then one day, it dawned on me that God would still love me whether I did that or not, so I figured I'd exercise this "freedom in Christ" and read when I felt like it. I think this was my downfall. In many other gray areas after that (ie. God didn't say He cared) I often chose to exercise my "freedom": church, watching T.V., the aforementioned issues, and so on. This brings me to the part in my story where I reference an old Zerbik "Do what you're told". Not only are we to obey in the big things that are spelled out for us, but also when He speaks to us through our hearts. So, perhaps this dreaded word, "discipline," only seems distasteful because Satan knows it could lead to a healthy pattern in our lives when the thing isn't so hard to make ourselves do AND we'd benefit from it. Clear as mud?

I'm summarizing my conclusion for myself here: Becca, get over the "issue" of discipline vs. freedom, do what God tells you to do when He tells you to do it, even if it's over and over, He might just be helping you become more like Him or be closer to Him or something beyond your understanding like that.
Just for kicks I looked up the etymology of the word 'discipline' and 'free' on www.etymonline.com:
c.1225, from O.Fr. descepline, from L. disciplina "instruction given to a disciple," from discipulus (see disciple). Sense of "treatment that corrects or punishes" is from notion of "order necessary for instruction." The L. word is glossed in O.E. by þeodscipe. Meaning "branch of instruction or education" is first recorded c.1386. Meaning "military training" is from 1489; that of "orderly conduct as a result of training" is from 1509. The verb is attested from c.1300. Disciplinarian "one who enforces order" is first attested 1639; earlier used of Puritans who wanted to establish the Presbyterian "discipline" in England (c.1585).
free (adj.)
O.E. freo "free, exempt from, not in bondage," also "noble, joyful," from P.Gmc. *frijaz (cf. M.H.G. vri, Ger. frei, Du. vrij, Goth. freis "free"), from PIE *prijos "dear, beloved" (cf. Skt. priyah "own, dear, beloved," priyate "loves;" O.C.S. prijati "to help," prijatelji "friend;" Welsh rhydd "free"). The adv. is from O.E. freon, freogan "to free, love." The primary sense seems to have been "beloved, friend, to love;" which in some languages (notably Gmc. and Celtic) developed also a sense of "free," perhaps from the terms "beloved" or "friend" being applied to the free members of one's clan (as opposed to slaves, cf. L. liberi, meaning both "free" and "children"). Cf. Goth. frijon "to love;" O.E. freod "affection, friendship," friga "love," friðu "peace;" O.N. friðr, Ger. Friede "peace;" O.E. freo "wife;" O.N. Frigg "wife of Odin," lit. "beloved" or "loving;" M.L.G. vrien "to take to wife, Du. vrijen, Ger. freien "to woo." Sense of "given without cost" is 1585, from notion of "free of cost." Of nations, "not subject to foreign rule or to despotism," it is recorded from 1375. Freedman "manumitted slave" first recorded 1601. Colloquial freeloader first recorded 1930s; free fall is from 1919, originally of parachutists; free-hand is from 1862; free-thinker is from 1692. Freebie dates back to 1942 as freeby, perhaps as early as 1900. Free-for-all "mass brawl" (in which anyone may participate) first recorded 1881. Freebase (n. and v.) in ref. to cocaine first recorded 1980.
Interesting, huh?

1 comment:

Ben said...

Good thoughts Bec!