The Discipline of Gratitude
Wednesday of this week was Ash Wednesday, and so we are now in the season of Lent. Though many people think that Lent is something only Catholics observe, I have learned that it is prominent in other churches as well, including the Lutheran church.
Generally when people think about Lent they think of giving up something. One makes a sacrifice for the 40 days of Lent (which actually does not include the Sundays, so the season spans 47 days). But I really feel like I’ve given up so much lately I just couldn’t bring myself to give up something for Lent this year.
Instead, I have decided to focus on the discipline part of Lent instead. I’ve decided to “do something” every day of Lent instead of give something up. And the thing I’ve decided to do is write something uplifting and positive in this blog each day. It may be short or it may be long, but every day between now and Easter (except Sundays) I will write something here. I will focus on one of the promises of God and make it a disciplined habit to share those promises with whoever chooses to come here and read what I wrote.
We tend to think of discipline as a negative thing, as punishment. But the discipline I have in mind has nothing to do with punishment. It is the type of discipline that one undertakes voluntarily in order to seek improvement in their character or physical fitness. One dictionary definition of discipline is: “activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.”
Proverbs 5 says:
21 For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD,
and he examines all his paths.
22 The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him;
the cords of his sin hold him fast.
23 He will die for lack of discipline,
led astray by his own great folly.
Lack of discipline leads to death. Embracing discipline leads to life. The discipline to focus on the positive, to be grateful for my blessings, and to trust in God’s promises, will lead to the abundant life God wants for me.
I like this idea-that instead of sacrificing something that is “bad” for you (and really, what people give up for Lent is rarely very bad), you’ll do your best to create something positive for others. That takes a lot of discipline (as you said), but also a lot of initiative!