An invitation to show up consistently.
by Sarita Andrews (B.A. '17)
"Remember, guard your heart, sweetie" was always a phrase my mother would use whenever I'd go to her for advice as a young girl. I never really understood what that Proverb really meant, until recently, as I was praying about what to write, when it comes to the virtue of self-discipline.
The definition of self-discipline, at least according to Google, is "the ability to control one's feelings and overcome one's weaknesses." Growing up, in my head, this meant that you only practice self-discipline, once you actually know what your weakness is—once you've "tasted the sin" and realize you don't like it.
However, as I began to spend more time in prayer and delved deeper into the Word of God, I began to realize the stark reality, that self-discipline is nothing more than a matter of guarding one's heart.
Being someone who has what I call a "rebellious spirit" (I honestly think, that we all do, as a result of the fall), I've had my fair share of "tasting sin."
Looking back however, I realized that much of what are now my weaknesses, were developed because I chose to ignore the precious advice my mother gave me.
- Just one drink won't kill me.
- Just one more bite won't hurt.
- Just another hour on the internet.
- I'm the exception to the rule.
All ideas that began with good intentions and naive thought processes.
The idea that we can control our own 'addictions' is a lie that the devil feeds us. We are simply not strong enough without Christ. That's where guarding your heart comes into play; the moment you allow Christ all control and make Him the center of who you are is when you are slowly able to guard your heart.
I realize more and more how much of a gift the virtue of self-discipline is. In its essence, it's a form of wisdom that God gives us; to know when we've gone too far or to know ourselves enough to simply be able to put our foot down to what's bad for us, before it even becomes a threat.
Self-discipline is drawing the line before we can even cross it. It's knowing that there's so much more to life than our instant gratification. It's knowing that we are weak but He is strong.
Having desires and cravings are not wrong, in fact, God created us to desire and crave, but too much of anything causes us to become distracted from having a true and meaningful relationship with Christ.
"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do, flows from it." —Proverbs 4:23
As you allow yourself to practice self-discipline, allow Christ to walk alongside you, pray for discernment and give Him the control.
Then watch the beauty that flows out of your heart.
He can use you in mighty ways if you just let Him. Trust me. You'd be surprised.