The disciplines take so much time. I rarely notice that they help me and I feel I have so much work to accomplish.
Does it ever seem like you're wasting time?
Let me give you a few examples. It feels like an enormous waste of time to exercise and I don't notice results at the time. However, if I don't exercise I will notice the bad effects over time. The daily discipline of exercise will slow the aging process in my body. It may prevent bone loss and strengthen my heart as well as other muscles.
Brushing teeth, picking up a mess immediately, washing the dishes as soon as they're dirtied. Don't these sometimes feel like time-wasters? Of course, we reason to ourselves that they're not. We know that if we don't do them we could get gum disease or end up spending more time later when we've gathered a mountain of dishes or a whole house that needs to be cleaned.
Recently I was challenged again to journal--the kind of journaling where you just dump out everything in your head onto a page. I know it helps me think more clearly. I accomplish so much more in the time I have when my thoughts aren't flitting here and there. If I can get it out on paper beforehand, my mind can focus.
But brain-dumping feels like a waste of time. If I have an hour to pray or meditate, taking 15 minutes to write nonsense in a journal seems like a waste. But I must reason to myself, remind myself that the other 45 minutes will be far more productive if I take the 15 minutes for brain-dumping.
I see this as a principle in every area of life. The things we seek we won't accomplish if we jump straight in to accomplish them. Like writing an article without research. We must first put in some serious leg-work.
I hear Hathi, the commanding elephant of the Elephant Brigade in the cartoon movie Jungle Book saying, "Discipline...discipline is the thing." Although he had no purpose for his discipline of marching around the jungle, we do have a purpose. So as I remind myself, I hope to encourage you too: Your discipline is for a purpose, it is NOT wasting time.