anyway, the point is that i haven't been perfect, but i've been pretty good. and i feel good about it. i feel good about myself for making some progress in the realm of self-discipline.
i've had elder maxwell's article, "becoming a disciple," in mind for a few months now. his words are the inspiration for my zest for self-discipline (long quote, but worth it):
though i have problems and temptations to deal with, i don't think i have huge issues with some of the things he mentions here. but i love that bolded line. the fact is, i am diverted from my true purposes a lot of the time, spiritual, educational, professional, social, physical. so i'm practicing self-denial for those things that do challenge me.Denying oneself has never been popular as a lifestyle, and it is clearly not today. Self-denial is portrayed by many as too puritanical and too ascetic. Scoffers have acquired powerful pulpits from which they bray their message, which constantly puts down discipleship and encourages the natural man to think highly of himself and to please himself.What is it that we are to deny ourselves? The ascendancy of any appetites or actions which produce not only the seven deadly sins but all the others. Happily, self-denial, when we practice it, brings great relief. It represents emancipation from all the “morning after” feelings, whether caused by adultery or gluttony. Being concerned with tomorrow, true disciples are very careful about today! Self denial also includes not letting our hearts become too set on any trivial or worldly thing. Then we can learn the great lessons about the relationship of righteousness to the powers and the joys of heaven.The fundamental fact is that if we do not deny ourselves, we are diverted. Even if not wholly consumed with the things of the world, we are still diverted sufficiently to make serious discipleship impossible. As a consequence, all the gifts and talents God has given us are not put meekly on the altar to serve others and to please God. Instead, we withhold to please ourselves. Diversion, therefore, is not necessarily gross transgression, but it is a genuine deprivation, especially if we consider what we might have become and what more we might have done to bless and to help others.