I’ve been on a health kick. Unfortunately (and along with a good majority of us in the good ole U.S. of A.), I’m not one of those people who has the “my body is a lean, mean, athletic specimen of human existence and I love carrots & kale more than chocolate” gene. So for people like me, our health is something we must work at. It doesn’t come “naturally.” Sometimes we have to train, discipline and just plain beat into submission: our bodies, our appetites and our stubborn will (that always wants what it wants when it wants it)!
So, I was thinking the other day, what else in our lives do we have to discipline or strive to “master?” What other things in our day to day realities, left completely to themselves, would likely wreak havoc on an otherwise (mostly) peaceful journey through this world?
We may delve a little deeper at a later time, but for now, let’s just start with a list:
- Your body. See aforementioned. And by the way, even if you’re fortunate enough to have that “naturally inclined to be healthy gene” (or you’re one of those people who can just eat whatever you want and never have to lift a weight), you still should try to take the very best care of this temporary tent that you were given to live in!
- Your thoughts. Ever found yourself in a situation and wondered, “how in the world did I get here” (not in a good way!)? Trace it back to the beginning. Bet you 99% of the time (at least!) it started with a single thought.
- Your words. Even the smallest ones can lead to BIG trouble! They can build up or they can tear down. They can represent truth or they can represent lies. They can bring life or they can bring death. There is a reason we are encouraged to weigh them carefully.
- Your actions. Do they represent who you profess to be? How would your family describe you? Your colleagues? A stranger behind you in line at the airport or grocery store? Actions…there is a reason it is said that they speak louder than words…
- Your emotions. Oh my where to begin? Let’s just list a few that are pretty easy to spot: Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Lust. Take your pick. Every one of those suckers needs to be stomped on the neck before they can all too easily take over and make you into someone you do not want to be (and who others don’t much want to be around, truth be told).
- Your judgment. You know when it’s described as “cloudy”? This is what I mean. There is a time for mercy but there is also a time for justice. A time to set emotions aside (see how intertwined these things are?) and just Do. The. Right. Thing! Sometimes that doesn’t even mean DO-ing anything but just taking a stand for the “rightness” of something. Capeesh?
- Your children. This is not a mutual mentoring relationship proposition. As a parent or caregiver your JOB is to bring that child successfully into adulthood and that means letting them know that there are real boundaries in a real world that they ultimately have to find a real way to fit in.
- Your money. This one is telling. Too often our money seems to master us. We let it dictate what is important to us. How we spend the largest chunks of our time. Why we limit one thing or activity over another. Have you ever heard someone say, “if you want to see what’s important to someone, just look at their checkbook.” Ouch.
- Your time. Are you guilty of too often having your day to day existence overrun by your To Do list? Be honest! – does it have a life of its own?…a cozy little home on the counter where it’s never far from reach? Are you missing moments that are right in front of you – possibly some that you will never get again – because you are obsessing about crossing things off or focusing on YOUR stuff?! Maybe you just even need to better master the art of time management and efficiency. Do it! Do it today! Your stress levels (and probably several relationships) will thank you for it.
- Your ministry. Yes, I said it! Your MINISTRY!!! This means knowing and being confident in those things that God has called you to (now) and allowing yourself not to be diverted by others (I think of Nehemiah when he was building a wall – “doing a great work” – and would not be distracted to come down). I’m talking about razor-sharp focus here with a good dose of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit (a whole ‘nother lesson in discipline!). Jesus demonstrated this perfectly time and time again when he was intent on doing one thing but allowed himself to not miss opportune moments that were right in front of him.
If you’re honest (and why wouldn’t you be?), what things in your life today are mastering you more than you’re mastering them?
“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial.
“I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.
1 Corinthians 10:23