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Emotional Self-Discipline

 

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The reading today is beautiful in its expression of how God uses discipline as a loving way to help us be better. Just as our parents set boundaries and discipline for us so that we wouldn’t chop our hands off, or drive our siblings raving mad with repeated cymbal use. And yet who among us thinks we need discipline as adults? I mean, I’m not a child anymore. So I no longer need rules and consequences. I’m an autonomous adult who is free to think and do and chose and stay up as late as I want!

God in His infinite wisdom as a father has set in our hearts a natural law, a pervading sense of conscience of right and wrong. Almost an internal discipline metronome. We would like to think we can do what we want without consequence. We would like to think our choices affect only us, so why would we need to consider others or justify our actions? We’re entitled to be how we feel.

My college boyfriend was a nice guy, but the relationship was so dramatic and filled with drama and hurt. I was nineteen and sure my life was my own and my choices would only affect me. I hadn’t strengthened my emotional discipline internally enough yet to know how to rein myself in, be a big girl, and be mature about love and loss. Now that I’m practically a middle-aged married woman, I think of how well-disciplined I am. Do I lash out at my husband because I’m having a hard day? Do I snipe at my very loving siblings when I’m frustrated and feeling dramatic? Double yes.

But I’m more aware of emotional self-discipline than I was more than a decade ago, and I hope to be more emotionally disciplined as I age. Being conscious of how we act and how it affects those around us feels pretty critical for a healthy emotional life. And we feel it in our hearts. We know when we’re not rising to the standard of self-discipline Our Father calls us to.

Join me today in increasing awareness of emotional self-discipline, as befits the daughters of the King.

Nell O’Leary is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom to three lovelies. She and her husband live in the great city of Saint Paul. You can find out more about her here.

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