"Back at Whitworth, the Chaplain's office used to put together a book of meditations for the season of Lent that reflect upon some aspect of the forty days leading up to Easter.
Let's pretend we are at Whitworth. Each of us has been asked to contribute a Lenten meditation and we were asked to write about one of three topics -- or a combination of them:
Today my meditation is on discipline. Actually, I will focus more on self-discipline. When the word is heard, often images of punishment, military code , or training for a marathon come to mind. Discipline may be seen as rigid and unbending. When people try to be creative while being disciplined it often rubs them the wrong way. An artist may feel like they are being fenced in. It may be too structured. Todd Henry said ,"Discipline simply means making an agreement with yourself and keeping it. "
That doesn't seem so rigid. When a writer tries to stay focused on completed a piece of writing, a goal may be set to write so many pages a day. That doesn't take away from the creativity. It just provides an agreement you make with yourself. I am working on expanding my experiences with art forms. I don't want this to be a "wishy washy whenever whatever" project. I have scheduled a day of the week with a friend to work on creative works. I have made an agreement with myself to keep broadening my creative skills. That is self-discipline.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Galatians 5:22-23 " But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Self-control is also self-discipline and believe me, this is a mighty list of fruits of the Spirit. While we work to demonstrate these, Jesus would want us also to show self-discipline. It brings us closer to our agreement with our own selves. It helps us reach the goal of being creative.
Whether it is in reading the Bible, raising children, performing on stage, writing poetry, or creating a art journal, it all takes self-discipline. When a friend gives up chocolate for Lent, that is self-discipline. When people choose not to eat meat on Friday during Lent, that is self-discipline.
When a person wants to expand their creative endeavors with writing, painting, practicing photography, drawing, or designing, self-discipline is needed.
Yes, a person can follow their muse, but there is a time of being true to yourself and your art. There is a time to commit. There is a time to make an agreement with your own self. There is a time for self-discipline. I hope I can stay the course.