Discipline, Freedom, and Walmart Pickup

It’s been almost a year since I blogged about the freedom that comes from discipline and I’m not surprised that it has, yet again, been a theme in my life lately.

In short: I’m in desperate need of structure.

As the twins have been increasingly content to play and occupy themselves, it has given me more time and more opportunities to do things unrelated to them. While it has been great, it has also revealed just how out of control life has become AND how desperately I have been craving structure.

Beginning in childhood, we tend to think that freedom means no rules, no boundaries, no structure.

It’s actually the opposite.

Since the boys were born we have been less strict with following our budget, which leads to overspending and stress.

We’ve eaten out (also not in the budget) WAY more than we should simply because it was easier than meal planning.

When we have free time the LAST thing we want to do is something responsible, but that has led to us feeling burdened by the lack of discipline. In reality, we could have found the time to create more order in our lives if we had really made it a priority.

We’ve allowed our lack of discipline to create mild chaos in our home.


Two weeks ago, at one of the mom groups I attend, the speaker discussed setting priorities. She started by mentioning one of the laws of physics – that an object in motion will stay in motion unless something interferes. The same goes with our priorities – if we want change, it isn’t going to miraculously happen. We have to step in and fight to make it happen.

This week, Brennan and I sat down after brainstorming separately and discussed what our priorities were for our family, our marriage, and ourselves. Not surprisingly, they were almost identical!

I will blog more about them later, but the top three are:

1. Spiritual growth

2. Financial freedom

3. Family time/closeness

Each one has many bullet points and ideas for how to implement them, but we wanted to keep each overall priority simple.


We’re using these priorities to help us make decisions and allocate our time, and it is already making a huge difference.

Example: meal planning

I decided that every other Wednesday (budget day) will be meal planning day. I will also be simplifying the meal rotation to 10-15 meal options so that I have less thinking to do, and we will be using the slow cooker daily if possible to ensure that dinner happens.

I will “shop” that day using the Walmart Pickup (click for $10 off your first order!) app (the BEST THING EVER) so that I am able to see how much we actually need in the budget AND we won’t be able to easily buy impulsively. Immediate savings! Plus, we will save time by pulling up and having them load the groceries into my van!

I will also put each meal on the calendar so that I don’t have to think about what’s for dinner. Instead of wondering what sounds good, we will simply have what is scheduled. This alone will alleviate stress!

Oh, and I also found out that Costco will DELIVER to our house so that’s also a game changer! Now I can stay on budget and only get what we need (we all know how difficult that is at Costco!).

Just taking action in this ONE area helps our budget (financial freedom), helps us eat better, and gives us back time spent grocery shopping multiple times a month (family time).

These things may sound simple – and that’s the point. Right now, my exhausted brain can only handle so much without feeling overwhelmed, so these simple steps to make meal planning (and sticking to the budget) happen are well worth it.

I’ve felt so tired and didn’t think that structure was necessary, but it turns out that the lack of structure was making me even more tired!

I feel SO free and relieved knowing that my groceries are ordered, we stayed within our budget, meals for the next two weeks are scheduled, and my family will eat well.

We’re excited about our new family priorities and cannot wait to see how they shape our lives from here on out.

Do you have priorities that guide your family? I’d love to hear about them!

Freedom Comes From Discipline

Freedom and discipline sound contradictory, right? We all want freedom- especially as teenagers. The idea of freedom becomes an idol even though we have not yet learned a very important fact:

“Absolute freedom is absolute nonsense! We gain freedom in anything through commitment, discipline, and fixed habit.” – Richard Foster

I’ve been re-reading “Blessed Are The Misfits” by Brant Hansen now that I have a paper copy and can underline things.

This time around, chapter fourteen made me think more than the ones before it.

At first, I defensively thought that Brant must be wrong saying that freedom is found by struggling, by discipline. It ruffled my feathers because I am not one naturally inclined to be disciplined, though part of me longs for it. Freedom comes from a lack of rules, right?

I began to think of examples of how this could be and one immediately came to mind: piano.

I am naturally musical, which is both good and bad. It’s good because I’ve been successful at any instrument I have attempted; it’s bad because I never stuck with any of them (seven and counting) long enough to be excellent (except for vocals). I would get to a certain level and get bored, so I would quit.

I learned really early in life that I didn’t have to practice (or study) very much to fool my piano teacher. She would praise me and say that she could tell I had worked hard, but I hadn’t. I was only eight years old at the time. I convinced myself that my natural ability was enough and that I could be lazy. This discovery carried over to school because I realized my natural intelligence allowed me to not work as hard as others and still get good grades. We are all inclined to laziness (read Proverbs!), and mine manifested itself through music and school.

How is this related?

Because I didn’t give my all to practicing and continuing to play piano, I am restricted to the notes on a page and am unable to improvise. I am confined by my limited ability despite my desire to play more difficult pieces.

Discipline brings freedom. As Brant said, “We find freedom by losing it (page 135).”

“Anyone who does only what comes naturally, who abandons the struggle, will wind up being less than what he or she could have been. And, like Jesus said, anyone who loses his life for His sake…will find it.”

– Brant Hansen (pg. 136)

Piano is just one of the examples in my life of how I could have found freedom had I applied discipline and embraced the struggle. If I had stuck with it and worked hard, where would I be today?

I could list so many more examples of laziness and lack of discipline in my past.

However, I want to stop the growth of that list in my future by embracing and implementing more discipline in my life and by surrendering myself and my natural tendencies to the power of discipline (and to Jesus) when necessary.

“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

True freedom in this life comes from surrendering your life to Jesus. It comes from living the way He told us to live, and not the way our hearts think we should go. I know it sounds like a contradiction, but it’s the truth. Jesus said so. 😉

Now it’s your turn: In which areas does this resonate for you? What can you do to make a change today?< em>(Also, you really should pick up “Blessed Are The Misfits” as soon as possible. It’s so worth the read (and re-read)).

Day Seven: I’m Thankful For…Freedom

Preface: Last year I decided to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I never finished this series, so that’s my goal this year. I am re-posting the ones I wrote last year and adding new ones. This was originally posted on 11/07/12 (with slight changes made today).

I fully admit that I took my American freedom for granted until 2005, when I spent a month in North Africa learning about life in the Middle East after college graduation.

Despite spending my college years studying our nation’s history and political science (and gaining a huge appreciation for what our Founding Fathers established), I still didn’t fully grasp how wonderful our country really is in comparison to many countries around the world until I left it.

We have it good here.

Since that trip I have done extensive reading about the lives of women in the Middle East (specifically Saudi Arabia and Iran)…and it truly breaks my heart. Books like Reading Lolita in Tehran Inside the Kingdom, Kabul Beauty School, and In the Land of Invisible Women ignited a passion within me for these women who are so oppressed by their governments and their culture…and even their own families.

I cannot imagine living in a world where I am unable to live freely… 

I am thankful that I can walk around freely without fear of corrupt police trying to falsely accuse me so that I will pay them off.

I am thankful that I can wear what I would like to wear.

I am thankful that I can say what I want to say when I want to say it (using wisdom and discernment, of course 🙂 ).

I am thankful that I can worship God freely and without constraint.

I am thankful that I can travel freely, by myself if I choose.

I am thankful that I can blog freely without fearing repercussions from the government and without fear of censorship.

And the list goes on and on…

I know that our country is far from perfect, but the freedoms that were established by our Founding Fathers are remarkable and unique, and I believe that they are biblical in nature. God sent Jesus so that we could be set free!

I am SO thankful to have the privilege of living here.

Day Seven: I’m Thankful For…Freedom.

Preface: I thought it was fitting to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I’ve never taken the time to do this, and it will be a challenge to blog each day, but it’s so important to recognize the blessings God has given us! 🙂 These are in NO particular order…

Until I traveled to the Middle East/North Africa in 2005 (for a month), I admit that I took my freedom for granted. Despite spending the four years prior studying our nation’s history and political science (and gaining a huge appreciation for what our Founding Fathers established), I still didn’t fully grasp how wonderful our country really is in comparison to many countries around the world.

We have it good here.

Since that trip I have done extensive reading about the lives of women in the Middle East (specifically Saudi Arabia and Iran)…and it truly breaks my heart. Books like Reading Lolita in Tehran , Inside the Kingdom, and In the Land of Invisible Women ignited a passion within me for these women who are so oppressed by their governments and their culture…and even their own families. I cannot imagine living in a world where I am unable to live freely… 

I am thankful that I can walk around freely without fear of corrupt police trying to falsely accuse me so that I will pay them off.

I am thankful that I can wear what I would like to wear.

I am thankful that I can say what I want to say when I want to say it (using wisdom and discernment, of course 🙂 ).

I am thankful that I can worship God freely and without constraint.

I am thankful that I can travel freely, by myself if I choose.

I am thankful that I can blog freely without fearing repercussions from the government and without fear of censorship.

And the list goes on and on…

I know that our country is far from perfect, but the freedoms that were established by our Founding Fathers are remarkable and unique, and I believe that they are biblical in nature. God sent Jesus so that we could be set free!

I am SO thankful to have the privilege of living here.