And if I look through my day at my routine and those things that I do just because or out of a need, I see the force of "discipline." It's there in almost everything I do.
If I don't do something that I know needs doing (like folding laundry - down to 2 clean baskets of unfolded clothes! - or straightening my office or grading papers or housework), I think I must be feeling lazy or that I might actually be lazy.
Today I'm wondering if, perhaps, I'm just lacking joy.
I may be lazy sometimes, and I'm not against discipline. I value it. I practice spiritual, emotional, and physical disciplines, though never as many as I think I ought. Much gets done because of discipline and much doesn't get done, or at least this has been my thinking, because of lack of discipline.
But is that how God intended life to go? That we should do everything out of discipline?
I wonder today what it would be like to do more out of joy.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb 12:2
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. Rom 14:17-18
There's joy to be had in the kingdom of God, and I think Jesus lived a lifestyle of righteousness, peace, and joy. I think He was disciplined, yes, but out of that discipline a deep-seated joy was abiding, a joy so deep that He went through a most excruciating death without complaint.
And I want that. I want to do things more from "sheer joy" than from "sheer discipline." And I think that's perhaps where thanksgiving comes in.
This discipline of giving thanks in all things has the potential to cultivate joy as my eyes are continually opened to the good gifts from this good God whose Kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy is mine to dwell in.
And there's that other verse about the joy of the Lord being my strength...
I'm looking forward to the day when I wake out of joy, fold laundry out of joy, straighten my house out of joy, fix meals out of joy...
...through the strength of the Lord which is joy
... living in His Kingdom where joy abounds with righteousness and peace
...seeing the joy set before me which enables me to have a disciplined life with deep grooves of thanksgiving that always lead to joy and more joy
...and being child-like - like a 2 year old bounding out of bed just because the day holds so much wonder and excitement...
Here's to more joy!