Friday, March 12, 2010

The Art of Discipline…and the Art That Comes From It

This blog post is inspired by both the lateness of this post, and by my determination not to allow that lateness to make me break my word to myself to post on Fridays. So, enjoy!

It is now 8:05 p.m. on Friday night, and rather late for me to preparing a post for my blog. My current goal is to write my blog twice weekly, uploading a new post on the mornings—yes, the mornings—of Tuesdays and Fridays. Clearly, 8:05 p.m. is much, much closer to Saturday morning than it is to Friday morning. I’m more than slightly past my deadline.

So I thought it might be appropriate to write a post on discipline. Although, to be honest, I didn’t write this particular post on time because I had three major work projects this week that afforded me a good amount of overtime, while stealing away the time I need for my personal writing. But to be even more honest, I can’t claim discipline as my strongest talent. And it makes a good topic for a philosophical blog post. So here goes…

According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the word discipline is defined as:
(1) Punishment
(2) Training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character
(3) Control gained by enforcing obedience or order; orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior; self-control
(4) A rule or system of rules governing conduct or activity

Ah, yes. That’s why I struggle with developing discipline. It feels like punishment, because I don’t want to follow the rules!

I jest. But seriously… It is not easy to train ourselves, to mold ourselves with enough patience, forethought, and perseverance in the face of pain until we perfect our mental faculties. And moral character? Ha! That’s even harder. For while I do believe that God can help us in this arena of developing discipline and especially moral character, I also know that He never promised that process of developing self-control would be a stroll in a rose garden. It’s not even a stint in a weed garden. It’s more like a marathon trek through the Amazon jungle. To carve out a path, you need to get out that machete and start hacking. And expect to sweat.

Blogging is proving to be a wonderful way to discipline myself to the act of thinking, developing ideas, writing them down, and publishing them for an audience. I will never say this is easy, because my goal isn’t just to write something, anything. My goal is to write something meaningful, to hone my skills and my writing voice, and to eventually gain an audience who will buy books when I write them. This is no little trifle. This is a means to an end.

And as such, it truly does require discipline. I do need to perfect the mental agility in all things connected to effective writing. And I definitely need to mold my moral character, because if I intend to say things that are meaningful, I also want to say things that are helpful and healthy, and I believe that requires morality. It requires a good, strong heart…the kind that comes from becoming more like God, not less. And that sort of character only develops through training, because left to our own devices, we all tend toward the path of least resistance. And that path is never the most moral.

So I have bent myself to the training wheel of discipline. I have finished my blog post for tonight. It is going up now at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Not as early as planned, but on the right day as planned. And I am not at all sorry I spent my evening writing this post. I think my writing is worth it. And for the four or five people who read this blog regularly right now, I know you’re worth it too.

Copyright © 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

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