“The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”
Our desires aren’t enough
When I was pregnant with my first son, I planned to have a natural childbirth, free of any kind of pain medication. I told the doctor my plan and she nodded along. “Well, there’s always epidural available if you change your mind.”
My desire was one thing. My direction toward that desire looked completely different.
I did nothing to prepare for my plan. I took no natural childbirth classes. I read little on the subject. The day I went into labor, I went in with only my desire but nothing to prepare me for what was required to stick to the plan.
When the doctor entered the room to check me, she instructed the nurses to begin pitocin. Had I researched at all about natural childbirth, I would’ve declined. My contractions became a level of pain I thought could kill me from sheer pain. The doctor later laughed that she had tickets to the symphony and needed this baby delivered so she could make the performance.
Well, my plan didn’t stick for long. I quickly begged for an epidural. We had our baby, but I felt so disappointed that I hadn’t known enough in advance to prepare better to stay the course.
Initially, I wanted to blame the doctor, or the pitocin, or the slow labor. In the end, I realized all the places I wanted to place my blame were mere roadblocks, but they could have been overcome if I’d prepared myself better.
I think we can all relate to having desires for something, yet finding we don’t really do anything to help us achieve those desires. We often lack the discipline necessary to turn those desires into a reality.
Desire is easy. Discipline isn’t.
Discipline is often the missing link connecting our desires to our realities.
That is where the friction lies. Do we desire it enough to create the discipline necessary to achieve it?
Is fear of failure holding us back? This is a big one for me honestly. There are certain areas I feel I have failed in so often that I don’t have the energy to get up and try again. If I knew I’d succeed, I’d surely find the energy to try again. This is how I know it’s my fear holding me down.
On my second child to be born, I ditched the desire for natural childbirth. I’d determined it was too hard and decided it wasn’t for me.
Fast forward to my third child. I saw others having natural childbirth. If they could, why couldn’t I? I began to take notice of what they did different than I’d done.
If we want a different outcome, we need different action steps
- They were in a community with like-minded people.
- They became students, eager to learn
- They “trained” their bodies in preparation
- They found accountability
- They invested money if necessary
I’d done nothing of these sorts my first attempt.
I decided on my third child, if it were within my abilities and decisions, I would stick to the plan. This time I did what I watched others doing who were successful to their desires.
I joined online communities and listened to their conversations. I took in all their tips and tricks. I took better care of my body in preparation for the task ahead. I read actual books on the subject.
But here was the kicker for me.
I hired a doula. I’d never heard that word before I joined a group of like-minded people. This came at a time in our life when finances were not just tight, but we truly had no wiggle room.
I still remember the cost of that doula. I don’t know what they cost now, but 11 years ago I spent $400 to have someone coach me through labor.
Could I have done it without spending that money? Possibly. But for me personally, when I spend money on something it holds me accountable to something higher. I don’t like waste and am very conscious of the money I spend.
To me that $400 was an investment not a spend.
I was investing in my deep desire to have this child with no pain medication.
When it was over, she was worth every bit of that $400. On this side of it, I know for sure I would have asked for the epidural had she not been with me. If it were Steve and I on our own, we’d have been screaming for the doctors to relieve me of the pain. I know me and my small pain threshold.
My point is not to encourage you to spend money. However, at times we have to determine what it will take to turn our desires into the discipline necessary to reach our goals.
Sometimes our desires are for things that seem out of our control. Maybe they are to some extent, but there is always some discipline we can create to walk us closer to reaching that desire.
Do we desire friends? Do we feel lonely? That might feel like it’s a desire we can’t do anything about. It may take time to find friends, but we can become disciplined in being a friend first. We can place ourselves near like-minded people, we can join groups and communities, we can develop our skills in communicating. There’s always steps we can take to move us in the direction we want to go.
It takes discipline. And that is the point many people give up.
Yet, God calls us to be disciplined people.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7
Maybe today is the day to get honest with yourself. To rise up to owning those desires and making new actions steps toward the reality. Daily disciplines. One small step at a time. Don’t focus too much on the overwhelming task. Just look at the habit you can create today to move you one step closer. Then practice that habit every day.