Self-Discipline: The Power of a Single Focus

I want to be a woman with self-discipline.

A self-disciplined person is someone who is able to control their actions, their tongue, their thoughts. Someone who says she’ll do something—and then she does it! But how can we go about this? For crying out loud, I’m the one typing a blog past deadline! Oy! Nobody can be that perfect. Well, except for Jesus. And do you know what Jesus did while He was here? His Father’s business. He knew His calling, He knew the goal, and He knew the best use of His time. 

Do not be discouraged, Paul reminds us that God has in fact given us a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7) Christian, you have the spark already there inside you! Yes, our nature is to be sinful, but God didn’t leave us defenseless. 

Before we tackle the entire self, I want to focus on one aspect of self-discipline: Doing one thing at a time. I’ve touched on the concept of being in control of your tongue. Don’t make a liar of yourself! Be careful what you say, be careful what you agree to do, be careful what you promise. (Whoee, I’m speaking to myself here.) Today I want to look at the follow-through. 

At 36 years old, a counselor helped me process that many of my lifelong struggles have a name: ADHD. Now when I have a new and amazing idea, I ask myself, “Is this an ADHD shiny new thing syndrome or does it hold lasting value?” (Just kidding, I only ask this about half of the time, the rest of the time I’m boots on, out the door and my husband puts the brakes on for me. Thanks, babe!) To be honest, I truly believe that 99% of my ideas are 100% amazing. The problem is that I cannot physically and mentally carry them all out. If I could live 100 different lives, I don’t know if it would be enough to fulfill all of my great plans. 

Therefore: Self-Discipline. 

In regard to doing the things—all the things, some of the things, the fun things, the important things, the work things, the family things—there is a system I’ll share with you. Basically it’s this: You literally can’t do it all. So pick one. 

That’s the most important fact I’ve learned the past few years for being a self-disciplined woman. You literally can’t do it all. You only have so much energy and time each day. And hasn’t anyone told you? Multi-tasking is a lie. So, what does that mean for us? 

There’s a poem in my son’s second grade primer: Work while you work. Play while you play. That is the way to be cheerful and gay. (Read the whole poem here. It’s fantastic.) I’ve tried to embrace this idea as much as possible and boy-howdy does it make a difference. In recent months I’ve even been known to unload the dishwasher all in one go because I refuse to do anything else at the same time. No coffee, no breakfast prep, no texting all my friends; it’s just me and the dishwasher. I’m like a superhuman when I stick to one thing! 

Okay, sure, sure. She can unload the dishwasher.

But listen to this: “Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.”

Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)

Friends, let me tell you, I have so many plans. Most of them are not established (yet). But when I commit my work to the Lord, everything changes. Notice it doesn’t say, “Commit your PLANS to the Lord and your WORK will be established.” Hmm. Sounds to me like the Psalmist is encouraging us to dedicate our every minute, hour, and day, to the Lord. 

Being self-disciplined is more than getting up early, drinking enough water, and crossing off all the perfect boxes. It’s about being in control of yourself and choosing to dedicate your work to the Lord so that He will establish your plans. This produces the best fruit when we focus on one thing at a time. And I don’t mean emptying the dishwasher. I mean, if Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, she can’t also knead bread in the kitchen. 

If you teach Bible class, you can’t also sing on the worship team every Sunday. Learning a new language with your family and weekly dates can’t happen if you spend your evenings watching TV. You want to travel to Europe? Then you can’t go out to eat as often while you save money. If you’re homeschooling four kids and have two extra daycare babies in your home, you can’t also exercise daily and write another novel. (Hi, it’s me.)

Take a look at how your days and weeks are scheduled. Do you try to do too many things at once? What can you drop-kick to the side or even dismiss entirely? I challenge you to dig into what God may have asked you to d. Are you doing it? Or, like me, do you often find yourself divided into too many segments, trying to do all the good things, thereby completing none of them? 

Let’s encourage each other in our self-discipline as we commit our work to Him.

Share with us, what plans has God established for you recently? 

tasha hackett

Tasha Hackett, author of Wildflower on the Prairie, writes with hope and humor to encourage and entertain. To learn more about her and her work, go to


  1. Thank you Tasha, good reminder to focus on one thing and seek the Lord’s will as to what the one thing we should do. My current plan is to help my daughter when she goes into labor, that’s my next 1 thing.. What a joy

  2. Thanks Tasha for sharing with us. I appreciate your transparency on who you are. I need to remind myself to choose the better, the 1 most important task. So I can successfully complete that. Presently, my plan is waiting for my daughter to go into labor with her baby and then go help her.

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