The Road of Perseverance
Discipline is difficult and takes time, effort and sacrifice. We need varying degrees of discipline in different stages of our lives. Discipline is often the main ingredient need to propel us forward in life. In this post I talk about 3 ways to create lasting and sustainable discipline which glorifies God and leads to transformation and success
1. Reflect on a success in your past where you had the discipline to complete the task at hand.
When I think of the times I needed discipline in my life, I cannot help but think of the perseverance it took to complete my doctorate in 1999. Daddy had a vital role in me completing my dissertation.
Daddy had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and was seeking medical intervention at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston. Wayman [my deceased husband], the boys and I lived in Sugar Land, a suburb of Houston. So my parents came to live with us most of 1999. Daddy lovingly called me his “educated daughter.” I wanted to finish my doctorate degree to honor Daddy and to accomplish what I believe God had told me to complete. I prayed for three months before I made my decision to pursue my doctorate. I was teaching middle school full time. I had two small sons. I was married. And I was to continue going to school to get the EdD? God showed me “Yes” as I received confirmation from every direction, including Heaven. It was time to reap what I had sown over long years of night classes and weekend classes and papers and exams, and on and on, for five years since finishing my Master’s Degree. Daddy set an example for me. In our family, we finished what we started. He never quit. So, as his daughter, the youngest of his seven children, I would not quit, either. I had to finish. But I had to have God help me.
You may have heard of the term, “ABD” which means “All But Dissertation.” Many graduate students are ABD. The course work is completed, but the dissertation gets one stuck. My university required me to keep paying them a fee every semester that I had not completed my dissertation. This was to keep my committee members abreast of my progress, as they were university professors. I needed to finish what I had started. I had huge barriers in front of me. I was not sure I could do it. I had to make a plan of discipline to gain momentum again – One step, then another step.
The course work for a doctorate is grueling, but the real discipline comes while working on the dissertation – when you are doing the research and writing each of the chapters, meeting with the committee, following their recommendations, then completing the final steps to publish. Some of my largest boulders were the time needed to complete the dissertation, as well as the interpretation of my research through the statistical programming needed to analyze the results. How would this be possible while working full time, raising two small sons, honoring my husband and trying to do this in my “free time”? It was overwhelming, as I had to run the statistics of my surveys (centered around parent involvement in Title One schools in Texas) I had gathered. I was using a certain statistics program and needed to hire a consultant to help me run and interpret the results.
God helped me find a consultant to program and interpret my survey statistics. God sent me an editor to help me “clean up” my writing. God sent me cheerleaders – my family, including Wayman, my sons, Samuel and Justin, age seven and nine, and Daddy and Mama. Somehow I found the time to complete the dissertation in August 1999. I knew God had made the way.
2. Celebrate your success.
We went out to eat to celebrate on the day I took the final copies to the university print shop for official publication. Daddy was so happy for me. I was Dr. Sara Thurman, his educated daughter. However, he was so weak from cancer ravaging his body that he was unable to attend my celebratory dinner. Ten days after I turned in my final copies of my dissertation Daddy passed from this earth.
Daddy’s influence of discipline in my life lives on in my own children as they now experience the “reap what you sow” principle. In fact, even this week I listened to one of my sons speak of the amazing garden he will have this spring and summer. He is committed to working in his garden several extra hours a week so it will produce abundance. Daddy loved to garden. I am also observing in my other son the discipline required to work on his master’s degree online, which requires time every week so he can reap the benefits of this additional degree for more open doors for his family. Thank You, Jesus!
3. Think about a new area in your life where discipline can benefit your current situation.
Can you take a step forward in discipline for five days? Ten days? Twenty days? Fifty days? One hundred days? Can you imagine your success of the completed goal?
My advice to others and to myself: Do not become dismayed at the baby steps and the small beginnings of each day. Trust God’s perfect timing for each stage of your growth as a creative. Let God be your source of strength and hope on this journey of small beginnings. Actively pursue the daily truth of your identity as a child of God made in His image. God is the giver of self-control. It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit given freely to God’s children. Activate self-control to create the rhythms of discipline needed each day to reap the harvest and bring glory to God.
If you know someone who needs inspiration, healing or would like to join us
on this journey with God please, share this blog with them. ~Sara