Discipline isn’t often a joyful thing at first. And I mean both, discipline as in the correction for doing something wrong, and discipline as in the diligence in doing what needs to be done everyday. But discipline produces joy, in much the same way discipline in planting and cultivating a garden produces fruit, or flowers, or a beautiful sight.
As I was growing up I thought that good things just happened to you and if something wasn’t easy then it wasn’t right. So instead of writing, I desired to write, but it was difficult, it took time and lots of energy and effort, and I thought that it must mean that I wasn’t good at it, a natural, or gifted. Even worse, as a believer in a god of sorts, I thought that this couldn’t be what the great cosmic god wanted me to do.
But, praise be to God that I have come to know the truth. And the truth is, good things take work, energy, time and effort. To sum that up, it takes discipline, or diligence. Which are godly characteristics.
Today, I see people praising spontaneity. If something is spontaneous, then it must be good because it must be genuine and come from the heart. If you’re going to do some act of love, it must spring up out of nothing. What happens, of course, is those “spontaneous” acts generally become the same two or three acts that are done over and over again, slowly and surely puttering out. But why is this? Because love is work, love is cultivation, and love can be awakened and put to sleep. To steal from the book of Revelation, love can be hot or cold, and even lukewarm. And the worse of the three is lukewarm.
But, in order to truly be spontaneous, one must practice diligence in cultivating true love, genuine affection and action. From that cultivation there will be times of spontaneous actions that arise from the cultivation. Otherwise, if we are hoping on the spontaneous, then often that rides on a flash in the pan, a spirt of energy that has no root, and eventually will extinguish.
I aim no longer to be spontaneous, nor to do something ‘when I feel like it.’ I pray that I will be diligent in those things the Lord calls diligence, and that I will as well be disciplined in the things that I need to be in order to provide and care for my family. True cultivation and growth doesn’t come from the seed, that starts the process. True cultivation and growth comes from the soil, the rain, and the sun which are constantly pouring down upon that little germination of a plant.