A Short History of No Discipline

In my last post, my dad introduced the idea of a discipline trigger to me. Something that differs from person to person, but is a trigger that enables one to begin, pursue and sustain a discipline in their life. I was lamenting to my over-accomlished and super-productive husband Tom that I can’t know what my discipline trigger is because I have no discipline.

A Short History of No Discipline

  • My membership to Virgin Active Gym was cancelled because I couldn’t keep up the twice a month attendance requirement. Twice a month? Yes. Too difficult.
  • I cancelled my own membership to one of those women only 30 minute gyms because I went, like, four times in a year and I hated it.
  • I bought really nice gym clothes and running shoes to motivate me to exercise. Sadly, vanity is NOT my discipline trigger as the cleanliness and un-run-in state of my shoes will attest to.

True stories, all of these.

Organic rice and lentil balls or choc chip cookies?

“I have no discipline in anything in my whole life,” I whined. Sometimes I exaggerate.

“Yes, you do,” said  Tom, unfazed by my self-pity. “You’re incredibly disciplined about Will’s diet. And you’re disciplined about the courses you run for the students at Grace. You ARE disciplined. You’re disciplined about things you believe in.”

There it is.

I have Belief.

When I believe in something, I will do it properly. I will sacrifice, I will work hard, I will plan ahead, I will push through the tiring, messy, inconvenient aspects of it. I have pureed ridiculous amounts of organic food for our 13 month old son, William. I have spent late nights making PowerPoints slides absolutely perfect for the courses we run for students at our church. I am disciplined. I’m disciplined about things I believe in.

My discipline trigger is …


At our church where I work as the Student Pastor, we use Gallup’s Strengthsfinder approach to help us build teams and develop our staff. In a nutshell, the theory goes that instead of focussing on improving our weaknesses, we should develop our strengths. And one of my strengths, is Belief.

If you possess a strong Belief theme, you have certain core values that are enduring. These values vary from one person to another, but ordinarily your Belief theme causes you to be family-oriented, altruistic, even spiritual, and to value responsibility and high ethics—both in yourself and others. These core values affect your behavior in many ways. They give your life meaning and satisfaction; in your view, success is more than money and prestige. They provide you with direction, guiding you through the temptations and distractions of life toward a consistent set of priorities. This consistency is the foundation for all your relationships. Your friends call you dependable. “I know where you stand,” they say. Your Belief makes you easy to trust. It also demands that you find work that meshes with your values. Your work must be meaningful; it must matter to you. And guided by your Belief theme it will matter only if it gives you a chance to live out your values.

I really shouldn’t be surprised at this. Throughout my life, I’ve been able to make difficult yet clear decisions based on the fact that I believe in something strongly. When I was finished off my Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Management, I knew I wouldn’t go into business afterwards. I needed to give myself to something I believed in. When I was looking for a temp job in London, I knew I didn’t want to work for some heartless corporate. So I worked hectic hours with a team of passionate, energetic women who were just starting a business that linked recruitment of teachers with education in developing countries. When my husband and I returned to South Africa after working and travelling overseas, I knew that I would camp on the front lawn of Grace Family Church until they offered me a job – paid or not – because I believed in this community and the call of God they were pursuing.

This was a lightbulb moment for me. I know that I need Discipline. It’s something I’ve ignored for too long, something I’ve dismissed as just not “me.” But God has been whispering, and its time to get disciplined. And now, I believe that I can.

“My discipline trigger is Belief.”
What is your discipline trigger?


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