Recently I finished an odyssey that began a couple years ago in completing the classic by Gordon MacDonald, Ordering Your Private World. While I like to give some kind of report when I complete a book, I think this one's worth more than a single post, and it really hit home for me today in an odd way. I was doing a mock phone interview for our church's Youth Director search committee and I was asked the question "if you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?" I froze. One thing came to mind that I've been wrestling with for awhile now. But this interview wasn't about me. It was simply a practice for the committee to get a handle on things, their technique, etc. But I couldn't come up with something plausible, so I ended up answering in a round-about-way, to my boss & members of Session & friends (all of whom were on the committee) one of my own, REAL struggles. I shared procrastination, but the heart of it was discipline. And in that raw moment of me being real, I couldn't come up with anything else but that reality because I've been dealing with it - or not dealing with it for awhile now. If I could change 1 thing about myself, I'd be more disciplined. Problem is, unlike winning the lottery, you can't wave a wand & be more disciplined. It's something that comes with work. One that note, here's a couple quotes form the intro of MacDonald's book that hit me as I read them years ago and still pack a particular punch:
"Sadly, we do not have a Christian culture today that easily discriminates between a person of spiritual depth and a person of raw talent."(p5)
Those who brought their lives into discipline or (and this is a favorite word of mine) intentionality would, more than likely, go on to long-term lives of fruitfulness, adn their best years would be in the last half of their lives when discipline and depth paid off. And those like me, who relied heavily upon our natural giftedness, would reach some high point early in our lives and, more than likely, trail off into averageness for the last half of our days on earth." (p6)
If my private world is in order, it will be because I am convinced that the inner world of the spiritual must govern the outer world of activity."(p9)
If my private world is in order, it will be because I make a daily choice to monitor its state of orderliness."(p17)
After this last note, I wrote "-Keep A Journal" It's one of MacDonald's big things and it's something I did years ago, not quite daily, but nearly. I can also think back to my HS days - when I was definitely more disciplined. Finishing this book was great, but going back and re-reading the beginning was a good kick-in-the pants reminder for me...