As children, we thought discipline was a negative thing. Bedtime at 8 p.m., ice cream only on special occasions and one hour of computer time per day. Even as young adults, we often shrink away from discipline or any authoritative voice.
As we grow older, as we build our lives and have children of our own, we realize that discipline is necessary. Without it, we could not maintain a job, relationships or our overall health.
Within the last two weeks, everyday routines worldwide have come to an abrupt halt due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Daily tasks, places to be and people to see—everything that was once a priority does not matter anymore. What is left is a lingering, taunting space of endless time that was once filled with to-do lists and schedules. Now, we are left wondering what we will do with it.
Daily tasks, places to be and people to see—everything that was once a priority does not matter anymore.
In this open-ended space, I’ve come to question why it is so difficult to be disciplined in my writing and general creativity. If discipline is meant to give life, then why do I only feel anxiety?
After a few wasted mornings and anxiety-filled afternoons, the answer became clear. I could not find rest because my worth depended on the accomplishments of my day. I built my perspective around how I felt about myself, instead of the truth that I was made to rule over my emotions, my body and my time. If I am to bring healing to my mind and heart, then I must rethink my daily habits and expectations and replace them with new disciplines, which bring an abundance of peace and joy each day.
Writing is a great love of mine. It is what I want to do the rest of my life. I am created to tell stories, to understand lives I’ve never lived and share the words that have taken me out of dark places. In order to do that well, I’ve realized that my craft shouldn’t fit into my life. Instead, my life should be structured in such a way that my creativity can thrive and my craft can develop along with it.
This requires discipline. Discipline helps to rebuild a crumbling structure. It creates a new framework so that my thoughts can seek out new pathways into lighted spaces and so my creativity grows daisies instead of weeds.
Discipline helps to rebuild a crumbling structure.
When the era of COVID-19 is said and done, our lives will not return to the way they were. This time, this open space is an opportunity. Though not without difficulty, it is a time with purpose. To rethink and rebuild. To delve deeper. To rest and heal.
How have you found structure during quarantine? What disciplines have you put in place for yourself and your family?
Image via Madeline Mullenbach