It’s Not Discipline. It’s Love

I’ve struggled with self-discipline all of my life. Because I wouldn’t do it on my own, my parents spent a lot of time pushing me to finish tasks I didn’t enjoy, like homework or chores.

This week I attended the Catalyst conference in Orange County, California. There were a lot of singers singing, dancers dancing, and speakers speaking.

One of them was pro-skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.

Tony was interviewed about the work he is doing among at- risk kids through community skatepark initiatives.

During the session, the interviewer asked him to tell the audience about the self- discipline it took to become the greatest skateboarder of all time.

Tony Hawk replied, “Oh, I didn’t do it because I was disciplined, I was all over the map back then, I did it because I loved it.”

While this sounded both obvious and insipid, his explanation actually revealed a bit of understated genius.

“I’d think about a new trick… I want to learn how to do this, and I don’t care how much time I have to spend or how much it hurts.”

He also didn’t hesitate to reveal that he pursued skateboarding because doing so was its own reward.

“I didn’t do it for what the pay was.
I didn’t do it for the audience.
I didn’t do it for acceptance.”

“I just loved riding.”

This love meant that he wasn’t spending his days forcing himself to start “practicing”, it meant that he just got to go out and skate.

“I did it wherever I could, I did it in sad parking lots for 100 people with whatever terrible set-up the local skate shop owner had put together.”

Then he tied it all up with this gem of a ribbon…

“That determination to ride and learn just turned out to be discipline over time.”

Discipline grew out of a love indulged over time.

When I think about it, I realize that the things that I’m good at, I also enjoy doing.

The things I love, I do.
Doing them is practice.
Doing them a lot turns into a lot of practice.

Which makes me wonder if the reason that we struggle to read our Bibles and pray is because we don’t love interacting with Jesus?

Sometimes I only pursue Jesus because I think something good will happen, or because I will benefit in some tangible way.

In those moments I’m not doing it because I believe that pursuing him is its own end, I’m not living like knowing Jesus is its own reward.

I’m “me focused” not “God focused”.

This only changes when I’m willing to pursue Jesus no matter what it costs or how much it hurts.

To not follow him for approval,
To resist performing for the audience,
To not follow him mindful of “pay”.

Wouldn’t this translate into a determination to grow and learn?

Wouldn’t this determination turn into discipline over time?

I believe that it can truly happen…

If I’m willing to love Jesus the way that Tony Hawk loves skating.

5 Responses to “It’s Not Discipline. It’s Love”

  1. Brian April 23, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    That is so true. Plus, I’m guessing Tony Hawk didn’t say anything about all of the risks he took and bones he broke pursuing his love of skateboarding. It’s very inspiring.

    PS: please remove the Pine State Biscuits photo from your photo stream. It’s making me hungry. :-)

    • Jon April 23, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      That’s me helping you develop some discipline!

  2. Kimberly Kyllo April 24, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    Love! Reminds me of The Prodigal God, Timothy Keller. Are we loving Him for what He gives us or because He…has….the….words….of…life? Makes ALL the difference in the world as far as reading, worshipping, obeying and serving goes. Thanks Jon~

    • Jon April 25, 2012 at 7:57 am #

      Tim Keller is a genius right!

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