Posted by: jevcat | June 13, 2010

Self-Discipline and Patience … Maybe?

I’m an odd person (I hear all sorts of comments from the peanut gallery here).  I resent discipline imposed from outside, respect discipline imposed from within, and yet find it difficult to impose much on myself (at least at home).  Combine that with a lack of patience (again, business is something else), and things can get complicated. 

I’ve been trying to correct some of that lack of self-discipline with regular exercise and saying daily office morning and evening but, even unemployed, squeezing everything in gets tricky.  Speed-reading through the daily lessons isn’t what was intended, something brought home to me when I was brought up short not once but twice this week at the realization I’d just misread something, as in:  “For the Lord listens to the nerdy”  (Psalm 69:35).  Well, I’m sure the Lord does, but the word was “needy”.  Or, in the Magnificat, “From this day all gender nations shall call me blessed” – interesting thought, and perhaps appropriate in Pride Month, but, again, not the “generations” that was actually in the text.

Which leads me to wonder how much else I – and the rest of us – are missing or just plain misunderstanding as we dash through life these days.  I spend so much time racing from thing to thing, doing too much too fast, without the patience and self-discipline to choose less rather than more, and I know I’m not alone in this tendency.  I forget that it’s important to stop, take a deep breath, and evaluate what I really want and need to do, make sure that second category gets attended to (and some enjoyment does fall into that category) – and figure out what of the rest is can wait or needs to be let go entirely.  Sometimes when I find myself thinking, “But I have to … ”, if I really look at it, I don’t.  I may feel obligated to, or even want to, but I may not actually have to and it might even be better not to do it.  But if it is worth it, I also need to stick with it, not give up on it.

Which means discipline and patience, and maybe, more than halfway through my fifth decade, I’m beginning to figure that out.  A prayer that resonates with me comes from the Daily Devotions for a Monday morning found in the New Zealand Prayer Book.  It is:

Lord God, when you give to us your servants any great matter to do, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of it, until it is thoroughly finished which yields to true glory.

 God of work and rest and pleasure, grant that what we do this week may be for us an offering rather than a burden; and for those we serve, may it be the help they need.  Amen.


  1. I’m glad to be reminded that the Lord listens to the nerdy!
    One of the reasons I’m intentionally flexible about my prayer life (‘though I do pray every day, usually more than once) is because I don’t want to “phone it in.” If I’m extra-busy or just distracted I’ll do a shorter version or fewer readings. Prayer is for us, after all; not for G-d.
    I hope that one of my favorite nerds isn’t beating herself up too badly about this!

  2. As always I know what you mean. Let me tell you that its your age. We all have this problem.
    Our minds goeth before 60 and keeps on going down hill. Then it takes the body with it. I will be 67 this year and everything is going. Some have gone never to return.


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