A few years ago, after a bad accident, my physical therapist gave me a few simple exercises to do to build up my muscles. I did those exercises faithfully for about a week or so, and then I skipped a day; and a day became a week, a week became a month, and so on. I’ve noticed lately that my choices have caught up with me. My arms and my legs are more stiff and I’m not sure if it is old age or if it is neglecting to do my exercises; maybe a combination of both.
I was talking to my friend who is training to run a marathon and she said it is often times tempting to skip a workout. Just as with my exercises, there is not an immediate payoff. This morning it came to me that I either have to do what it takes to get to where I want to go, or pay the price of regret for not taking the steps I need to take.
It’s like that in every endeavor in life. It is the vision, and the ability to re-focus my attention on my purpose that brings the persistence needed to reach the goal. The passion for my dreams can easily be eroded by the daily demands of life. When I lose sight of my vision and purpose, I get weary and consider giving up in order to avoid the work it takes to achieve it.
Fear is a strong emotion that can also hold me back. When I’m able to discover the root cause, I can offer my feeling to the Lord and move past it.
I’ve been working with a friend who has come alongside me to help me type. One morning when I was preparing to meet with her, I didn’t really want to go. As I pondered these feelings, I sensed that they stemmed from inadequacy and fear of failing, because I didn’t know what I wanted to work on. After we prayed, I took a step forward and went anyway. Later I realized the only way I could fail is if I decided to stop pursuing my dreams.
When I’m tired, the path to where I want to go seems too steep, and it’s tempting to give up. After a little rest I get bored because my unfinished goals just start eating at me. When this happens, it is very helpful to meet with friends who show me how to break down the process. When I connect with people who have similar passions, then I’m ready to move forward.
One of the places where I meet and spend time with people who have similar passions is at Joni and Friend’s camp every summer. Each year, camp has a specific Bible verse that we focus on for that week. This year the verse is Philippians 3:12-14. Paul encourages each of us to run the race that is set before us.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”