Devotion and discipline have been two words that I have been pondering the past few weeks. I have been wondering if the two are related or are they opposites? Is one more important than the other? What does it mean to be disciplined at something versus being devoted to something? Most of these question arose as I began to decide what my beginning of the year fast would entail and as I thought more and more, I felt God bring these two words, devotion and discipline, to my heart and mind. Was I going to be fasting out of devotion or was my fast going to be about my disciplines? For me, becoming disciplined at something can almost become a trap as I find myself more concerned with sticking to the rules than anything else. I will beat myself up if I don’t reach my goals and/or if I “fail” at one of my rules. For these reasons and more, I believe God is trying to bring me to a place of devotion for something than discipline at something. Now by no means am I saying that being disciplined at something is bad; however, for me I want to be fueled by my devotion rather than my disciplines.
As I began looking at these two words further, I came across this quote by Luciano Pavarotti, “People think I’m disciplined. It is not discipline. It is devotion. There is a great difference.” See this legendary man was devoted to his art and it was because of his devotion that he worked hard, practiced and produced excellence. It wasn’t the discipline he had, but the devotion he had that drove his disciplines. I think if many of us were to think of the disciplines in our lives that have lasted, we would conclude that it was because we were devoted to it. For instance, the devotion to health will last, while the discipline to diets will fade away. If out of our devotion to health we make a lifestyle of eating heathy and exercising, then health in our lives will last.
Here are a few of my nuggets about devotion and discipline:
- Devotion is from the heart. Discipline is a matter of the mind.
- Devotion will keep you, discipline won’t if not attached to something deeper.
- Disciplines developed out of rules will fade. Disciplines developed out devotion will last.
Therefore, this year I want to determine what I am devoted to and work from there. I do not want to be a person that creates disciplines for rule/boundary sake. I want to be a person who if asked why I do this or that, I will be able to respond, “because I am devoted to it.” Therefore, determine what you are devoted to; determine what you are passion about and create your disciplines from there. I pray this year you will not be caught up in the rules. I pray you will live a life that honors what you are devoted to.
I have decided…
- I am devoted to God.
- I am devoted to family.
- I am devoted to health.
- I am devoted to living a generous life, not just with my finances, but with my time, talents, love, and kindness.
And now from these decisions of devotion, I need to spend my time, develop my goals from and live daily with these at my forefront. What are you devoted to? Does your disciplines stand alone or are they attached to something deeper?