I stood in the kitchen last night, the cutting board in front of me, frustration inside me.
For the past two weeks or so, I have not wanted to make dinner for my family. Typically I enjoy knowing that I'm feeding my family healthy food and that I have the time to make it. But for the past ten days I've felt more like sitting with a book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.
Here's what I do when I don't want to do what I should do:
* I remember that self-discipline is like a muscle.
My dinner-making muscle has gotten flabby from lack of use over the past couple of weeks--restaurant meals, guests over, disruption from our routine. The way to make it stronger is to start using it again--it's not rocket science.
* I ask myself, "Why don't I want to do this?"
Sometimes we just need more variety--to change things up a bit. Depending on the task at hand this can be easy or challenging.
* I ask myself, "Do I have to do this right now?"
In my dinner-making example the answer is yes, I do need to do it at that time.
But there are plenty of other times when instead of pressing through against our inclination, we can work on something else until our motivation for another task returns.
* I ask God for inspiration and perspective.
When my self-discipline or self-mastery fails me, it's time to go back to basics. Time to take a look at my immediate surroundings and the truth of the matter, which in my case means:
- I have a pantry full of food that I can go to at any moment.
- My kids don't know what it feels like to feel hungry.
- The food we have is nourishing and fresh.
- We had plenty of money to pay for it in full.
- I am radically blessed to have the time, opportunity, and this incredible family to cook for.
"In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves... self-discipline with all of them came first."
~ Harry S. Truman