The path to Excellence is a long, rough, rocky sloping road with no shortcut. To live at a higher level, we realize very quickly that the mental ingredient of discipline is the tool that manuevers us through the toughest curves and provides the stability to climb every slope. A disciplined life launches us to the experiences of God’s abundance and the joy of living in His presence.
It was here on our Christmas Tree Farm where God showed me and taught me the true meaning of discipline.
“And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9
Life provides hundreds of opportunities. We are given the challenge of looking realistically at the decisions made and to evaluate and adjust to see how it measure to the standard of excellence. If our goal really is excellence, we need to be prepared to stay the course with persistence and disciple.
The Benefits of Hard Work
The display of colors during the autumn season has not always been welcomed by my family of three sons. It meant that hard work was just around the corner. Yes, we are Christmas tree farmers. While others were looking forward to hunting, fishing,watching football, or taking in their last round of golf–my sons were to embark upon a season of very hard work. To complicate the experience, harvest season happens whether there is sunshine, rain or snow. It meant long hours , hard labor, and sometimes difficult situations that made completing the task almost impossible.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; Eccelesiastes 9:10
So what possible benefit could their be from hard work especially when it brought discomfort of freezing hands, wet clothes, and equipment failure. These long hours taught our sons discipline, perseverence and to be diligent in all things. They experienced a sense of pride for a job well done teaching them to be finishers not just good starters. A bonus benefit was family togetherness and of course a paycheck.
Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than people. Ephesians 6:7 Our product, the Chistmas tree, was unique. We were producing a excellent product that would be the centerpiece in every home that would be celebrating the birth of our Savior. So the greatest benefit to this hard work was literally doing it unto our heavenly Father.
What is self-discipline?
Self-discipline is the ability to get yourself to take action regardless of your emotional state. Without self-discipline our intentions will not be accomplished. But with sufficient self-discipline, it’s a done deal. You will know when you have arrived at the pinnacle of self-discipline when you make a conscious decision and its virtually guaranteed you will follow through on it.
How do you acquire self-discipline?
Self-discipline is a life skill that requires practice. You have to decide to live intentionally. Set goals and work hard to accomplish whatever aspiration or task you have decided to tackle and don’t stop until it is finished. The environment that presented the opportunity to develop the skills of discipline and hard work for me was in the Christmas tree field. Yes, I am a Christmas tree farmer. The fields and the business of growing and retailing Christmas trees taught me this:
You must produce a quality product.
Good practices must be a routine to produce a quality product.
Time limits are automatically in place dictated by the season to perform the good practices that produce a quality product.
Accountability appears at harvest time revealing whether we have done every thing required to produce a premium Christmas tree. It is shown in the number of harvestable trees and in the products final grade.
In life the same is true. You must plan for excellence by virtue of planning to finish well what you have started. Set the goal, make a plan and see it through to excellence.
Complete pages 87-89 in Excellence with Simple Elegance: The Study.
Excellence with Simple Elegance and The Study are available for purchase at http://www.bonnieliabenow.com by clicking on the widget Bonnie’s Books.
Decisions we make for ourselves will affect us throughout our entire lives. We must choose to be hard workers and disciplined to experience God’s best for our lives. See choosing to sidestep boundaries and taking shortcuts because it appears easy and gratifying will be short-lived and painful. If our goal is to live God’s way–one of excellence, we need to be prepared to stay the course. Being patient and diligent with what God has entrusted to us, nurturing it the best we know how, we will then grow into women of excellence.
” And Mary said,
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised”
Mary was a chosen privileged vessel to be the mother of the Son of God. She clearly did not claim to understand it but responded willingly. Her response to God’s call on her life was to simply worship in humble acknowledgement of God’s touch on her life. A disciplined life as woman of faith also requires us to be obedient to God’s call. Our challenge is to embrace God’s call, pursue it willingly, obey and humbly worship.
John 2 : 5 “Whatever Jesus says to you, do it.”
A disciplined life will launch you to the experiences of God’s abundance and the joy of living in His presence. And your reward for obedience to His call is fulfillment, joy and blessings beyond measure. Be intentional giving Him your praise for His goodness.
“Come to me and I will give you rest–all of you who work so hard. ”
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling…be glory and majesty…both now and forever.”