During these 10 day I’m sending my son, Tyler, encouraging quotes and messages while he attends the JRob 10-day Intensive Wrestling Camp in Iowa. My goal is to inspire him, to give him something to hang on to when things get hellacious, when his asthma acts up, when his muscles are past burning and have started shaking, when all his strength and endurance are used up and he still has a ways to go.
As I write his messages, I realize I’m not just talking to him—I’m talking to me too.
Others in the series:
Does this word make you cringe?
Yeah, it usually makes me cringe too.
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. Hebrews 12:10-11
We often correlate discipline with punishment. In fact, that’s an important part of this word’s definition because without consequences; rules, regulations, laws, guidelines, etc. would mean nothing.
We know it. We believe it. We know it’s necessary and worth it—as long as it’s happening to someone else. When it comes to ourselves, we try to avoid it at all costs. However, that is completely to our detriment.
There’s another side to discipline we need to be aware of. One that we need to learn and employ:
Where punishment is the “how” of discipline, self-control is the “why.”
The two go hand in hand. Without the first part we aren’t able to learn and apply the second part.
Two guys got into a fight at JRob. Yup, that kind of fight. The kind that involves punches and bloody noses. And, yes, with only 3 days left.
I get it. I do.
- These guys have been pushed so beyond their limits they’re no longer able to see them in their rearview mirror.
- So they create new ones.
- And then they’ve been pushed past those.
- They’ve been shoved so far out of their comfort zones they don’t recognize them anymore.
- They’re exhausted and sore.
- They’re bruised, bloodied, scratched, and dinged up.
- Their muscles are burning and their minds are fried.
In short, they’re shredded.
On top of all that, they’ve had very little, if any, time to themselves to recover before they next intensive training session. So egos are strained. Patience is wearing thin. Emotions are running high.
I can only imagine how their tempers are frayed. How they’re mentally and emotionally done.
AND ALL IN A TESTOSTERONE DENSE, HIGHLY COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT!
So the wrong look, word, comment, or insult at the wrong second is like a spark on done dry tinder.
And here’s the hardcore truth—this IS part of the training! Aside from learning to be a better wrestler and a stronger competitor, these athletes are leaning to be responsible men who employ SELF-CONTROL.
(I’m not sure if there are any girls at this particular camp.)
The punishment for each instance of bad behavior is EVERYONE at camp has to get up an hour early and run. AND THEN they start their regularly scheduled day.
They knew this before they went. It was clearly stated in the document they signed to state their compliance with the camp’s rules. This was no surprise to anyone.
Parents had to sign it too.
And you know what? I agree with it completely. These rules and consequences are there to encourage accountability and to make these young men think before they act. To make them realize their choices affect those around them, not just themselves.
Discipline/punishment is an important part of life.
- It reinforces the boundaries.
- Establishes a code of conduct of what’s acceptable.
- Protects us and those around us.
- Makes us accountable and responsible for our actions.
Discipline is “training that corrects, molds, or perfects [our] mental faculties or moral character,” teaches, trains, and develops “self-control.”
Beloved, it’s no different for us.
Check it out:
- Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good. Deuteronomy 8:5
- My child, don’t reject the Lord ’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12
- To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction. Proverbs 12:1
- A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls. Proverbs 25:28
- For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
God disciplines us for OUR GOOD because He loves us and DELIGHTS in us. We must learn to love His discipline so we don’t become like a city with broken down walls—ravaged, used, and abused. Taken advantage of and left desolate. And through the power of the Spirit working within us, we have what we need to employ self-control when we practice the daily discipline of prayer and studying and applying His word to our lives ourselves.
- Molds us and shapes us…our character, our integrity, our morals…into who we are.
- Refines and develops our skills to help us do what we’ve been called to do.
Our natural talent will only take us so far. Remember we are limited, our God given goals are well beyond us. And in order to reach them we need to employ self-discipline, even when we’re not feeling it.
To realize the potential God’s put inside us, we need to train. Practice. Study. And then do it again. And again. And again. Until He either calls us home or tells us we are done.
All athletes, including wrestlers, need to train to get better. Faster. Stronger. To learn technique and form. Their natural ability will only take them so far—and it’s a far cry from where they want to be or how far they can go.
So they practice.
And they train.
They submit themselves to their coaches’ instruction.
And then they practice some more.
- Until that technique becomes second-nature.
- Until it becomes ingrained into the fabric of who they are.
- Until it becomes their natural impulses.
- Until they don’t have to think about what to do in a various situations.
- Until they can react with wisdom, confidence, determination, and precision.
They spend their practices learning the knowledge so when they walk on the mat for those six to seven minutes, they can employ the wisdom they’ve gained through self-discipline and countless hours of practice.
And when they make a mistake, they evaluate where they went wrong, and train some more until they get it right.
They’re always learning.
Always getting better.
This kind of work ethic and self-discipline is what makes champions out of participants. Competitors out of opponents.
It’s the kind of work ethic that enables us to reach the potential God’s put in us and fulfill His call in our lives.
Is it hard?
Is it painful?
Will we get bumped, bruised, scratched, and bloodied?
Is it worth it?
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