“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
I’ve spent much time working on how best to order my day. I want to encounter God as well as write creatively, meet my Oratory responsibilities such as shopping and cooking and also play my part in my business. That doesn’t include interacting with family and friends, but that’s not a task, that’s the oil that helps my life.
Some years ago Roy Baumeister coined the phrase “ego depletion”. His theory, established on numerous trials, revealed that each of us has a certain stock of self-discipline that we ‘spend’ from the moment we start our day. Unsurprisingly, this stock is full at the beginning of the day, but seriously depleted by the time we reach the evening. Ever had the experience of a bad day at work? You’ve patiently handled a series of tedious meetings, nonsensical questions and seriously wondered if you’ve the only functioning brain within the organisation. You walk out the office grateful it is the end of the day and also that you have not bitten anyone’s head off. You arrive home and are greeted with what you feel is yet another question, and explode with anger. Your stock of self-discipline has run low, and you lack the self-control you need and so give vent to your feelings.
Successful self-control manages “ego depletion”. That morning stockroom is seriously depleted by managing people, multitasking, closely monitoring and then managing reactions and responses. As that stock runs down so it becomes harder to act in a helpful way. So knowing this I began to construct my day by putting the most creative tasks early in my routine. I put writing ahead of social media, emails and the like. I tracked my days to see where the pinch points were, where I experienced my greatest stress. I then established ‘recovery points’, times where I read some psalms, took some time out with God and myself, a bit like plugging in the computer to boost the battery life.
What practices or habits might help you grow in self-discipline?
Lord, thank you for setting me free from the power of sin so that now by your Spirit’s help I can grow in self-control.