The Key to Successful Living

After hearing a friend’s senior thesis, I thought it would be good to share. The battle against procrastination continues on! The post below was written for us by Rebecca Fike.

Procrastination haunted me throughout my high school years. My senior thesis approached, and I couldn’t choose a topic. A last minute decision landed me on the topic of the effects of social media. The day came to present our theses and have several judges ask us some questions. One question asked was, “How does all this research and writing on this topic make you want to live differently?” My glib response was, “I am going to try to be more disciplined and not just with social media.” Later, it was pointed out to me that self-discipline is key to everything in life. Self-discipline is really just practicing self-control. It is the ability to keep pressing forward in a difficult situation when you are tempted to just throw in the towel and quit.

Why is self-discipline so important? First of all, sin and the Fall made man generally lazy and lackadaisical. As part of God’s creation, one of the main goals of the Christian life is to glorify God in everything. This is virtually impossible, however, if we are not even working for the glory of our Creator. This does not mean life will be all rigid rules and regulations; rather, practicing self-discipline enables us to live successful lives. 

What does it mean to live a self-disciplined life? One of the first steps for more successful living is removing any doorway that allows falling to temptation. For example, if I know I have a test that I need to study for, but I can just as easily scroll through social media, I should remove the object that allows me to slip. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses enables you to achieve more in life.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest enemies of self-discipline is procrastination. How can someone be successful if they continually put off what demands to be done? Procrastination continually yells, “there is always another time to finish this job; there is another time for study; there is another time for devotions,” and the list goes on and on. Procrastination is key for easy living, but that should not be our life’s desire. It may seem to work well for a time, but the consequences are hard.

Self-discipline allows for constant and continual self-improvement. There is no point at which the self-discipline in your life is at its perfect peak. There will be times when you just want to quit your journey of self-discipline and go back to the easy way of life. However, at the end of the day, the rewards of discipline are so much better than the results of easy living. A runner has to consistently train if they wish to take advantage of having started exercising. A musician must practice if they wish to grow. A concert pianist did not suddenly become a famous musician. A student must study diligently if they desire to really gain anything from their education. Living a disciplined life leads to success.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant,
but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11

One Another

…through love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

We each have plenty of personal responsibility — lots to carry ourselves, so to speak. So how can we fulfill God’s design of loving each other, serving and carrying burdens? 

Keep an eye out
For myself, I’ve had to realize that the hardest part is seeing an opportunity. There’s plenty to do, stuff I truly need to do. It takes effort to take my eyes off of those things and also make time and space for others. It is important to keep my eyes open and really see those around me. Is a coworker coming into the office (or a video conference) looking overwhelmed? Is the neighbor who faithfully walks every morning absent for the last two days? Is a child struggling with social connections?

Prayer 
Elementary, but so powerful. We may often start the day with prayer for ourselves and our needs, but did we also pray for our coworkers and their success? A problem shared with us may not have any possible response other than a listening ear and a promise to pray; that promise is easy to give and important to keep.

Margin for service
If there is no time to ever help anyone, perhaps the schedule needs to change. Margin makes time to respond as we see people or as things happen. A day that is not crammed full, every minute, lets us fit in acts of service, big and little.

Share the load
We ARE in this together. God created community, and we benefit from it. Encourage a friend in good works, and you will likely receive similar encouragement back. Team up with friends to help another friend. Many hands make light work. Seek out people who will help you get better at seeing and serving others.  

There are so many more ways to love each other. What helps you?