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  • Lynne Themelaras

"Beyond Resolutions: Cultivating a Disciplined Journey"

Like many, come January, I retrieve my paper and pen to draft New Year Resolutions—a compilation of aspirations and improvements for 2024. Yet, let's face it, as with most people, my journey kicks off on January 1st, and by mid-month, I find myself navigating life much like before. The only notable change by the following year is often the addition of 10 pounds, not their loss.

Is this annual ritual genuinely worthwhile? Does it truly make a difference? I would venture to say, for the masses, "Nope!" But why? We possess all the motivation, yet discipline is frequently absent. Motivation serves as the spark that propels you to sign up for the 5k; it's discipline that guides you to the finish line.

Over several years, the Lord has directed my focus toward the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV) outlines these fruits: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.”

Reading that list prompts a swift acknowledgment, "Yep, those are needed in my life." It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that if we all operated with these fruits, the world would be a better place. However, when we reach the last one—self-control—many, including myself, might hesitate. But, as 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV) states, "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid but gives us power, love, and self-discipline."

Therefore, this self-discipline isn’t an optional concept in our Christian walk; it's a vital part of our spiritual growth and emotional health.

As I compile my list this year, perhaps it’s not about a major overhaul but more about adopting a disciplined lifestyle. This way, the changes observed in this new year become a byproduct, not the sole goal.

How about you? Can self-discipline be added to your New Year’s resolution? Can you relate to the struggle with self-discipline? Share your thoughts, and let’s help hold each other accountable.

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