I used to be very disciplined when I was in middle and high school.
- I got up at 6:00 am every morning to make sure I had plenty of time to get ready for school. My school was literally across the street, like a 20 second walk. Ha!
- I read my Bible daily. I had a Daily Bread kind of a devotional for teens. I saw my parents faithfully reading the Bible, so I did too.
- I played sports: gymnastics in middle school then volleyball in the fall and cheerleading in the winter in high school.
- I worked out every day except Sunday.
- I took leadership opportunities when I could: translating a school handbook from Spanish to English, “leading” my sports teams (in quotes because looking back I was such a know-it-all, take charge kind of person, this was probably not my finest moments).
- Taking a very full course load my senior year of high school. I, and 4 other students, even elected to take Physics after school because that was the only time the teacher could teach the class. Yes, disciplined and crazy I was.
This discipline even bled into college but that’s when things started to slide downhill. The last few years, I’ve had spurts of discipline. I have good intentions to set goals and accomplish things, but they all fall to the wayside eventually.
The last 2-3 years I’ve had lofty aspirations at the beginning of the year. I tentatively set some goals for the year but never really follow through. I knew I could be doing more as a wife/mom/friend, but those ideals only lasted until February, if then.
In January, I had the same burn in my soul to accomplish much, to do great things. So I decide to challenge my small group at Bloom (a mother of young children program at my church, I lead one of the small groups). What are they going to accomplish? How can we change how we manage our households? How can we hold each other accountable and encourage each other?
Really, my encouragement was all for my own benefit!
- I needed accountability.
- I needed encouragement to stay the course.
- I needed someone else to be determined with me!
The two areas I identified for myself were budgeting and household cleaning.
I love to budget. I love to manipulate numbers. In my former life before kids, I was an actuarial analyst for an insurance company. I like numbers.
However, my impressively complex spreadsheet budget was super time consuming to actually use. I’d have the best intentions to do it once a week or even every two weeks, but I would fall behind and then delay even longer because I knew how long it would take to catch up 1 or 2 months of receipts.
I decided to give You Need A Budget (youneedabudget.com) a try. I had tried about 8 months prior but never took the time to really understand how the software worked, so I gave up quickly. This time I persisted. I took their live webinars. I learned how the software worked. I changed my view of how to manage our money. Guess what? We’ve made HUGE gains in our financial stability in the last four months! I (we) was quite lax in sticking exactly to our budget. We’d over spend a little here, a little there but never really adding things up because I was only doing our budget every 1 or 2 months. Recipe for disaster.
As far as taking care of and cleaning my house, I was constantly overwhelmed because it felt like all of the house needed to be cleaned all. the. time. The thought of cleaning overwhelmed me because I just couldn’t tackle the whole house all the time.
Enter Pinterest. There are a million household cleaning schedules on Pinterest. I did a bunch of research as to what would work for me and here’s what I ended up with: I use Google Keep and a series of lists to keep myself organized. I have one list for daily tasks that I just un-check all the items at the beginning of the day and try to hit everything on the list each day. Then I have six other lists (Monday-Saturday) with specific cleaning chores so that by the end of the week all of the major cleaning tasks have been done. I have stuck with this plan, with a few bumps in the road due to sickness, since January.
Ok, whew, that was my intro! It turned out so much longer than I thought it would!
All that to say, this diabetes diagnosis would have been so much harder if I hadn’t been working on my self-discipline since January of this year.
- Financially – We aren’t a wealthy family. We make a very average income. However, we are on top of our budget, since January. With the diabetes diagnosis, we will now have an additional $100-$200 expenses every month. If you are a budgeter, giving each penny a task, then you will know this is a huge expense. I actually don’t know how we are going to cover it yet. God is faithful. He will provide. Of that, I have no doubt.
- House Upkeep – The house isn’t a disaster after doing zero cleaning for over a week! Prior to January, my house would have totally fallen apart, been disgustingly dirty, after a week because it wasn’t just one week from cleaning the toilets, it was actually 3, 4, or 5 because I had put it off for so long!
- Spiritually – In the past few years, God has changed me tremendously. He has exposed my pride, anger, and lying. He has shown me His grace as He forgives and changes these patterns in my life. Diabetes has been overwhelming these last few weeks. My brain is constantly churning and thinking. If God hadn’t been working on my anger and general self-centeredness, I’d be losing it so much more often than I am now. I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I’m so much more patient and gentle than I was in the past. I would have a much harder time adjusting if I wasn’t continuing to ask God to change me to be like Him.
In addition to these major areas, I’m learning to be more disciplined new areas that are kind of funny but needed for the long haul:
- Checking my feet everu night for bruises, cuts, and callouses. I moisturize them every night before bed now to keep the dryness at bay.
- Staying on top of medical bills, paying them on time, keeping my files organized for future audits/tax purposes.
- Keeping up on the clutter: insulin and it’s supplies, glucose meter and it’s supplies, sharps disposal, etc. I need work on this, but I’m trying not to let the diabetes paraphernalia take over our house (or the great number of boxes and packaging material they come with!).
This is where I’m at for today. I’m so thankful God put these things on my heart (even though they’ve taken years for me to even tackle somewhat successfully!) and that I was working on them prior to April 1, 2017.