It was during my first fews years of full time ministry when I first heard it, and it has stuck with me ever since. We sat there in one of the kids classrooms located in the basement of Liberty Pentecostal Church, breathing in the smells of dried glue, construction paper and the residue of cleaning supplies. Dan Baker, a pastor/teacher from California, and myself sat there for about an hour dialoguing about life, ministry, dreams and everything in between – everything was going well. I remember him speaking into my life and bringing a sense of clarity and encouragement – and then it happened. He said something that I’ve never been able to forget.
“Adam, discipline will take you where desire can’t.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever had one of these moments. Moments that seems to pause time and space and leave you hanging in the middle, attempting to figure out what just happened?
But there I was – sitting in a small, church basement classroom, seeing my life like I’ve never seen it before. My life’s ambitions were full of dreams and desires, but I was not taking the necessary steps to get to my desired tomorrow.
Since that moment, I have come to realize that dreaming, desiring and visioning for the future is great, but unless it’s followed through with the disciplines needed to get you from here to there, they’ll just remain a dream – an fleeting desire.
I am still on this journey in my life – it’s a lot easier to dream than practicing daily disciplines. But every time I find myself stuck just outside the reach of a desire, I’m forced to evaluate the disciplines (or lack there of) I’ve established in my life to obtain it.
What needs to change?
What excuses have I bought into?
What do I hold as valuable and worth fighting for?
This principle can be applied to any and every area of your life: health, marriage, family, ministry, business, education, team, sports, art, etc. The divine act of discipline is what separates those who do from those who don’t.
So when it comes to your life, ministry, family, church or health, what desires are you holding on to? What do you want to see happen? What’s your preferred look of the future?
Hold on to it. Speak it out. Keep it front and center.
Now, apply the appropriate disciplines today (action steps) that will get you there tomorrow.
Read a book. Finished what you’ve started. Get a job. Find an accountability partner. Use your calendar. Set small targets. Start running. Stop eating fast food. Start reaching your Bible. Have a conversation with your spouse.
Make a plan. Work the plan.
You can do it.