Last week, I read a story that made me cry. It was about a young American girl who discovered at the age of 15, near the end of her junior high school year, that she was going blind.
She wrote it from a parenting angle, wondering how her parents must have felt on the way home from the ophthalmologist’s office.
She had tried to cope as her sight grew poorer each day but eventually became so concerned that she mentioned it to her mum, who immediately took her to the eye doctor.
Unfortunately, nothing he did helped, not even prescriptions for stronger glasses. He had to refer her to an eye hospital where, after several days of testing, the doctors told her and her parents that she had retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative disease that slowly eats away the retina of the eye. Not only that, but there was no cure and no way to correct damage already done. She had lost so much vision already, and her retinas would continue to deteriorate until she was totally blind.
My heart ached for the parents who drove home silently, their hearts in pieces as they took in their daughter’s condition, unable to do anything about their child’s suffering. My heart broke for the young girl sitting in the back seat of the car wondering if she would ever finish high school, ever get a college degree, ever date or have a boyfriend, ever get married; the young girl now knew for sure that she would never drive a car, something young people look forward to with great excitement. She was crushed.
She managed to end the piece with hope, and a miracle that started in her life that day (She went home and played the piano by ear for the first time – It Is Well with My Soul) but I couldn’t finish reading what she had written. My heart ached for her. I wondered how her life had turned out. Was she somewhere living a life as a contented older single, serving God quietly in her blindness?
I Googled her on a whim, and oh, I was not ready. What I found totally astounded me. As soon as I got over her beauty (for some reason I hadn’t expected her to be so lovely) I found out that she has lived a more productive and fulfilled life than some people who can see will ever live!
She started her career as a singer/songwriter, and is now a public speaker and author of over 11 books! What?! I have two eyes and I haven’t even completed my first book. Yet this blind woman graduated with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Communication. She’s released several Christian music CDs. She’s blessed with a wonderful husband and two sons. She even founded WomensMinistry.Net, a website that provides resources for women in leadership and equips them to lead well.
When I was done reading about her, I tweeted, “The sweet, beautiful Jennifer Rothschild, songwriter and author of over 11 books, is blind. I’m sighted. I can’t remember my excuse.”
As I wondered what my problem really was, I remembered this quote:
“At the core of every successful person, there is one common thing: discipline.” ~ Cameron Diaz
And it’s true. Indiscipline is the thief we allow to become part of our lives. It steals from us every day, so much so that despite the fact that we are talented, gifted, intelligent, creative, bright, and full of ideas, our lives don’t show it.
We lack discipline, and so we keep coming up with excuses for why we are not growing, why we are not living up to our potential, why we are not becoming the people God designed us to be.
Just as a horse that is not harnessed will never get anywhere, a life that is not disciplined will never grow great.
Of course, I was very happy at how Jennifer Rothschild’s life had turned out, but she educated and inspired me that day. I ended up feeling pity for myself and not her.
Regardless of what we consider to be disadvantages and setbacks in our circumstances, it is ultimately a lack of discipline that keeps us from living full lives.
What’s stopping you from finding your way to your true self today? What are you going to do about your dreams? Will you decide to embrace discipline or will you squander each precious day in laziness and procrastination?
Whatsoever you do, do it with all your heart. Don’t let indiscipline keep robbing you.
1 Corinthians 9: 24, 25a (TLB) says, “In a race everyone runs, but only one person gets first prize. So run your race to win. To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best.”
Don’t hide your talent in the ground. Be disciplined. Be fruitful.