Have you ever made a commitment to something and then a couple months later you remember that commitment and realize you haven't followed through? Please say "yes" so I know I'm not alone! It could be a commitment to run more... Flashback to sophomore year in high school. Joining the cross country team and lasting for precisely one day before saying, "uhhh. nevermind. Who was I kidding? I'm not in any way a distance runner!"
But the fact is, we're all distance runners. We have all made commitments to things that need practice and maintenance from day-to-day. A diet. A workout regimen A bible study. A friendship. Prayer. A clean house. Memorizing scripture.
Most things that we want to change about ourselves take work. We call it discipline. If we didn't have to work at it, it would already be done and we wouldn't want to change it. Pretty much every item from the list above is constantly circling in my mind. I'm better at some than others, but all of them are a source of guilt and discouragement for me from time to time.
The guilt makes me want to run and hide from the particular discipline that is lacking in my life. Sweep it under the rug, pretend it not there, focus on lesser things that don't take work. Painting my toenails, watching tv, blogging....
It's funny how I set limits on myself. If I miss my ab workout for two days, I throw the whole thing out and go get some ice cream. If I skip a few days in my read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan, I give up entirely and say I'll try again next year. Why not I'll try again tomorrow? Why is every set-back so final?
I was encouraged while reading Disciplines for Life by CJ Mahaney. I don't have it in front of me right now, so I'll paraphrase.
Just start again. Stop being discouraged and start again.
Pretty simple to say. So hard to do. But if we can get in our heads that a set-back does not mean failure, if we can use that set-back as a catalyst for prayer and reliance on the Father to help us change, then YAY for that set-back. YAY for less of me and more of HIM. I don't want to do it in my own power anyway. I don't need another reason to boast in myself.
Isn't it interesting how kids don't really need this type of encouragement, and if they do, we freely give it? For example, Tiger rolled down that hill he's climbing up three times before he reached the top. He didn't cry or give up. He just kept trying, and with a little help he eventually got there.
So here we go, here is your mid-summer encouragement to join me in jumping into that thing (or things) you have been neglecting. That thing that makes you cringe when it comes to mind because you know you haven't followed through. Here is your pep-talk, and mine.
We're gonna jump on the count of 3. Here it comes now 1-2-3, JUMP!