Discipline. I hate the word, don’t you? And I REALLY hate Hebrews 12:11: All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
I always think of discipline, first, as punishment. And yet as I look at the word, it is really the broader definition that applies: training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement. I often forget that God allows disciplines in my life to train me for improvement, not to punish me for breaking the rules.
So why is discipline on my mind? Because I realize that this selling-the-house thing is disciplining me in a way I haven’t wanted before. For the past three weeks, my house has been straight and (mostly) clean. That means my household chores are caught up. When I am at home, things are in such a state that I can actually sit down and write without feeling guilty. Without wondering if we have enough clean cereal bowls to last one more day. Without the stress of walking through the living room and cringing at the sight of “stuff” left out where it doesn’t belong. Without the mountain of laundry on Sunday night in order to have clean clothes for school Monday morning.
It isn’t fun, this keeping up with the chores, but I can see myself (and I hope my kids) being trained by it. I have learned that when my house is not in disarray, I can write more effectively, less stressfully (but obviously with more adverbs! () My training continues. When this house finally sells and we find a new one—one that will cut my daily commutes to school and school activities in half—I want to continue to walk in this new-found discipline in my house. And when that peaceful fruit of righteousness finally comes, I know my writing will flow from new depths—depths unable to be plunged without the pain of discipline.