Choosing One of Two Pains
Tuesday, September 11 2018
Yesterday was only Day 2, and already I did NOT want to do it! I knew I should – I knew the doctor told me I must – I knew that I would feel better if I did. But I just didn’t want to!
Lying in bed, looking out at the night sky beginning to light up, I thought: “Just 5 more minutes in bed.” When the 5 minutes were up, I thought: “I think it’s starting to rain … Yup! I definitely hear the rain coming. I guess I’ll just have to wait until tomorrow to do it.” When the sun came up and there was no rain, I thought: “I’ll have a quiet time with God first.”
Which I did. And, unbelievably! my thought for the day from my daily devotional read:
“We must all suffer from one of two pains:
the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”
As I said, unbelievable! Was God speaking directly to me, or what?!
I just had to face it head-on: the reality of life on earth is that every day our lives are filled with pain. Some of our pain, although by no means all, is our choice. And when it is our choice, the question is: which one will we choose to live with? The pain of discipline, which is hard – and weighs “ounces”? Or the pain of regret, which is ever so much harder – and weighs “tons”?
Yes! Discipline is definitely tough. Whether it’s the discipline of healthy eating, or regular exercise, or playing an instrument, or doing a sport, or studying the Bible, or praying, or giving, etc., etc., etc. Disipline takes time. It takes effort. It hurts. And it is so constant and so unrelenting. If only it were a one-shot deal, I could muster up the passion and strength to do it, and do it and endure it well! But it’s the daily-ness, the never-ending-ness that wears me down and wears me out.
Now: I’m referring specifically to my daily brisk morning walk. The exercise I know I need for so many reasons, the exercise that the doctor told me I must do to stay healthy, the exercise that my body breathes an energized “thank you” for once I’ve done. But yesterday was only Day 2 of my newly-determined morning-walk-discipline – and already I was postponing it, hoping something would come up to prevent it, making excuses not to do it. Sigh…
Until I read about the pain of discipline versus the pain of regret. The bottom line that stunned me sober. Because I realized that I was fooling myself into believing that I could do nothing at all and live pain-free forever – avoid the pain of discipline, and ignore the pain of regret. Oh! how foolish! The truth is that if I don’t buckle down now and accept the pain of discipline: my daily exercise, for example – sooner or later, but for sure, I will be living with the pain of regret: “If only I had done such and such, then I wouldn’t be so sick now”.
It’s called short-term pain for long-term gain. Because there will always be pain. The question is: will I be enduring it for the short-term or for the long-term? will I be experiencing it now in “ounces” or later on by the “ton”? The choice is mine.
Hebrews 12:11 says:
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time,
Later on, however,
it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace
for those who have been trained by it.”
And in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, the Apostle Paul wrote:
“Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race,
but only one receives the prize?
Run in such a way to win the prize.
Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything.
they do it to receive a crown that will fade away,
but we a crown that will never fade away.
Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly
or box like one beating the air.
I discipline my body and bring it under strict control,
so that after preaching to others,
I myself will not be disqualified.”
Yesterday, I finished my quiet time, and thanked God for speaking so directly into my life. Then I put on my running shoes, and headed outside for my morning walk.
Smile! How wonderful that it hadn’t rained after all!
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