Self-discipline is a matter of grit and grace.

Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace

With an empty house, a clean kitchen, laundry on the line (and even a sleeping dog!), it was a perfect afternoon to study or write. Deadlines were looming. However . . . the sun was shining, bath towels flapped and danced on the clothesline outside, and suddenly, while there was plenty that needed doing, the will to do it was lacking.

“Maybe I’ll call a friend,” I mused. “Or this would be a great day to wash windows!”

When I’m pondering the possibility of veering off course in some small way, I remember the faithful example of Elisabeth Elliot, who readily admitted that she was also subject to all the usual distractions and reluctance when it was time to sit down and write. She spoke of “taking herself by the scruff of the neck” and sitting herself down before the task at hand.

Elisabeth Elliot blended grit and grace so consistently that it is impossible to tell—and pointless to wonder—where one ends and the other begins. For this reason and many others, she has had a profound influence on the way I read Scripture, parent, and go about my work. I’m not alone in this, and because of her pervasive impact, Amanda Farmer and Michele Brusvoort are featuring Elisabeth Elliot in their Legacy Builders series.

I’d love it if you’d join me over there, and while you’re at it, be sure to take a moment to share in the comments about your memories of Elisabeth Elliot and how her books and her teaching have impacted on your following life.

By the way . . .

This is a good time to be pondering Elisabeth’s contribution to Christian thinking and living because several of her books are being re-released for a new generation of readers:

Made for the Journey, a new look and title for These Strange Ashes.

You can read my review here.

Joyful Surrender, an update of Discipline: The Glad Surrender (and a great follow up to this post!).

I’ll be reviewing this book soon.
Stay tuned!

Her audio series on suffering has been distilled down into print as Suffering is Never for Nothing which I have reviewed here.

Also, this year Valerie Elliot Shepard, daughter of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, wrote Devotedly, sharing content from her parents’ correspondence and journals. I was very thankful to share that book with readers and you can find the review here.

Because we “are loved with an everlasting love and underneath
are the everlasting arms,”

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43 thoughts on “Self-Discipline: A Matter of Grit and Grace”

  1. I am embarrassed to say that I have never read Elisabeth Elliot. I love the concept you describe in your post about “tiny deaths”. A chance to die each time we make a sacrifice and practice self-discipline. I need to read something by this talented author. So glad I get to read the products of your self-discipline, Michele. I always learn something when I do!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think I have read these books from Elizabeth Elliot. I look forward to doing so – especially Joyful Surrender. (Surrender is my 2019 word and has been my heart’s goal….) I agree that her life is such a worthy example – to have it impact us and influence our days. Pretty sure, more than I care to admit, I need to take myself by the scruff of the neck:) Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Michele, I love Betty Elliott and all that she has done to encourage Christian women! And this —> “blended grit and grace so consistently that it is impossible to tell—and pointless to wonder—where one ends and the other begins.” I like how you wrote that. It’s the truth! She certainly had a profound influence on my life. I was privileged to hear her speak on several occasions. I was even able to be a speaker at a conference where she was also speaking. It was a tremendous blessing each time I heard her!!! So full of wisdom! Thanks for this post and thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have to admit that I have not read anything up to now from Elisabeth Elliot. The title of the books resonate with me, especially the one about Surrender. Self-discipline is an in important topic for me and area I want to develop, especially when it comes to forming new habits. Grace and grit – love that!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There are so many choices, I hardly know where to tell you to begin, but definitely DO begin! Her style is very no nonsense, and usually laced with all kinds of stories from her own life.


  5. Boy, do I love Elizabeth Elliot!! I used to invite women over to my Victorian house for “Time for T.E.A” (teaching , encouragement and affirmation) and we would listen to her cassette teaching tapes. Then we would discuss all the many nuggets of wisdom she gave us. I cannot express how important she was to my life as a young mom. I learned so much from her! Thanks for sharing about such an amazing, faithful woman of God💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That image of you and other young mums sitting around a table and discussing Elisabeth’s teaching just warms my heart. So many of her books I’ve read and re-read, just because I need to hear her thoughts again. So thankful for the way she clarifies the Word of God and points me back to Scripture every single time.


  6. I am heading over to Mandy and Michele’s place to finish reading, but just had to comment here first. Gretchen’s comment above reminded me of my own time with dear neighbors listening to Elisabeth’s cassette series. We had such precious fellowship sharing our hearts and the convictions that were always stirred up as we listened. Thank you for the beautiful conversations you always bring to the table Michele!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What an amazing opportunity to listen to Elisabeth’s teaching in the company of friends. I try to have something from her on my nightstand all the time because she feels like a much wiser friend with good words.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve also never heard of Elisabeth Elliot, but I am definitely going to add her books to my list, they look really good!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She writes very convictingly about the life of faith, based on her own experiences and sometimes even her failures, so I have been really drawn closer to God by her good example of faithfulness.


  8. How we need the example of the generation that has gone before us. I’m so thankful for the way Elizabeth Elliot mentored me through her writings and pray that the same will be said for any who read her works in the days to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sometimes I think ita important to get on with the boring stuff when you dont want to, but I also think people need to sometimes take advantage of the sunny days when they happen.


    Liked by 2 people

  10. This made me smile. I think we could all do with skipping tasks every now and again and letting ourselves just be. I had a list as long as my arm to get through today, but my little one persuaded me to spend most of the day outside in the park and garden playing! I felt so good afterwards that the tasks became a piece of cake to get through in the end. Thank you for sharing this with the #dreamteam x

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I confess that I’ve never read a book by her…nor even knew who she was until I started blogging and would come across people who wrote about her ;). But everything I’ve seen has been powerful and to the point!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m not surprised, Anita, because I think there was a “pause” in Elisabeth’s ministry during the time we would have been in our more formative years. Her radio program was popular in the 90’s when I was in full-on family mode, so that’s when I discovered her.


  12. […] Self-Discipline:  A Matter of Grit and Grace— What a treat to be invited to write about the legacy of Elisabeth Elliot! I chose to focus on her incredible self-discipline and her humble admission that she didn’t always have it all together herself. And I loved her wry humor. When asked about self-discipline and weight loss, she noted that no one is actually qualified to address self-discipline around eating habits because if you don’t struggle with your weight, you don’t know how hard it is, and if you do struggle, you’ve got no room to talk!  Click here to read the tribute to Elisabeth’s impact for Jesus Christ. […]

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thank you so much for sharing these thoughts! Elizabeth Elliot seems like a very interesting christian author. I am strongly fascinated by the intersection of things like faith, perseverance, passion, and self-discipline, so these books may be a good read! My christian faith and psychological background has inspired me to write posts pertaining to the field of positive psychology, which asks what it means to live a meaningful and fulfilling life from a scientific perspective. Feel free to check it out and I welcome any contributions you may have to the content. Great post, keep up the good work, and God bless you!


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