I felt like writing this post earlier today but other things happened and I didn’t get further than jotting down this title on my blog ideas notepad, but now I was catching up with old posts on a blog I like and came across this piece of wisdom, which just so goes with what I was thinking, and with what I’d been learning by experience:
Studying the Bible isn’t an unpleasant duty akin to taking vitamins. Properly understood, it is life and health and joy… But daily Bible study isn’t always joyful. When there’s no joy, the only way back to the joy is through the discipline.
Bible reading is just one example of what I had in mind – there are all sorts of things that I know are good for me but I don’t always feel like doing, and it takes self-discipline to get myself to do the thing that really is good for me and not to do the thing that seems really appealing but I know isn’t good for me. Being a grown-up isn’t easy, you have to act the role of a parent towards yourself – we say to each other “take care of yourself” and seriously, this is our responsibility as adults, to take care of ourselves, and it’s not always easy. My inner child may fancy chocolate and ice cream all the time, but if I don’t make her eat real food first, that’s not good parenting, it’s not consistent with taking good care of myself.
I struggle with getting the right balance, to know how often to treat my inner child and how often to be firm. I think this is partly because I didn’t have a very good role model when I was a kid, because my own mother didn’t feel confident about striking the right balance and she didn’t set good, healthy boundaries for me. So here I am now, 49 years old, still trying to learn how to do this stuff.
But I’m doing better than I did only a year or two ago. I can see progress. There are definitely signs that I’ve been growing up. Hey, I even ironed summer clothes a few weeks ago before putting them away for winter! (Experience tells me that when the hot weather suddenly descends on us, I will not relish the thought of having to iron my thin trousers before I can put them on. But I’ve always been very big on ironing-avoidance. Thinking ahead like this and actually doing it – that’s progress.)