The Real Reward of Discipline

Friday! No one was more excited to see that day on the calendar than me. I had worked especially hard this week, being even more disciplined with my time than I normally am. The projects for the week were being checked off at a rapid pace, and I was looking forward to a relaxing holiday weekend with my family after working Friday morning.

My older daughter Alex was home from college and before heading to work, my wife and I gave her a book of sheet music from our favorite musicians, The Piano Guys. She sat at the piano and immediately began playing through the song A Thousand Years from the Twilight movie trilogy. While the score was beautiful, just being able to linger in the moment was, well, you know what I'm trying to say if you are a parent. Instead of going to work, I took the next 20 minutes or so to enjoy this priceless time with her, knowing that they don't come often. I could do that because I practiced discipline earlier in the week. It was in that moment that I was reminded once again that the real reward of discipline is freedom. The freedom to be able to change your plans when needed to really seize the moment.

I would have arrived at Friday morning anxious and charging out the door as soon as possible... and missed this most amazing of moments.

This could have (and has) played out differently in the past. I could have plodded through my week, allowing others to set my agenda, giving in to distractions, or let my procrastination tendencies take over. Friday morning would have found me anxious and charging out the door as soon as possible... and missed this most amazing of moments. My quality of work on Friday would have been diminished as well, due to my regret over not being more disciplined earlier in the week.

In his book, Margin, Dr. Richard Swenson asks a probing question: "What events in your life are not schedulable?" He goes on to say that many of the most memorable moments in our lives, and the ones that require or invite our full attention, can't be put on a task list or placed on a calendar. The key to be ready for these moments is to be consistently disciplined with how we use our time, giving us the freedom to fully embrace these precious interruptions in our otherwise over scheduled lives.

As I arrived at work later that morning, I was more motivated than ever to be disciplined in managing my time. I don't know when the next chance to choose may present itself,,, and I don't want to lack the freedom to make the right one.

How would being more disciplined give you more freedom?