Where we are now is normally a result of our own actions and our own choices. Sure, there are some things that we can’t control – yet we still can control our reaction to even those things.
We all have the same amount of time in the day. We may fill it up with work, facebook, kids, pets, church, TV, sleep, eating, etc…but we ultimately get to decide how we spend a lot of our time even if some of our time is not negotiable.
We ALL are busy. We all are pulled in a million different directions. One thing I’ve learned is I can ALLOW people, work, money, bills, stress, etc to pull me off track from what is important to me or I can stick to my guns and determine my own steps.
When I say I did NOT want to run the morning I tweeted this quote out online Saturday, I meant it! I had precious family coming into town and knew I would be pressing it to run, shower, clean or do whatever needed to be done in time for their arrival. Plus, I was plain tired. I had already done 8 cardios so far that week and could have EASILY justified skipping a day. BUT (Biiiiiiiiiigggggg BUT) if I skipped it, it would have really been out of pure laziness and lame excuses.
I didn’t have a ton of time, but I had enough time. I might have been tired, but I had the energy. My joints felt good, my body was feeling good. The whether was nice and Marley LOVES running with me so I can kill 2 birds with one stone – we both get exercise.
Steve got up and was doing his cardio. I honestly had no really good excuse NOT to – AND I knew good and well I’d feel horrible if I didn’t. Even though it wouldn’t have been the end of the world, it’s important to do the things that make you feel good and proud.
When it boils down to it, I had the choice. Run now, be proud later. Run now, be strong later, Run now, be thinner later, Run now, be guilt-free later. Run now, be a little closer to your goal later. Run now and live out the rest of the day in control, on track, focused, healthy and happy.
Next time you are tempted to be weak, remember you have the choice to be STRONG!!
When someone is desperate, how hard to they seek to get help? If someone is in pain, how quick to they seek comfort? When someone needs guidance, how much effort do they invest in finding it? If someone loses a job, how hard are they searching for a new one?
Over my years in the fitness industry, I’ve marveled at how many people who desperately need help are not desperately seeking it. I think of the story about a crippled man in the Bible who lay by, what was believed to be, a healing pool for YEARS. He literally lay there waiting for someone to pick him up and take him to the pool to get healed. I think many people (including me at times) are like that guy, waiting on someone or something else to do all the heavy lifting. Sometimes it’s because we are overwhelmed by the task that could be required of us to take action. Many times it is just pure ignorance – we have no idea what to do. Sadly, most of the time, it is just pure laziness. We’d rather hope for a miracle, than exert ourselves in fear doing a lot of work for no reward.
Listen, people who work get the reward. People just have unrealistic expectations, and they have a warped definition of the word “work”. They do a little work, and expect a big reward. They work for a short time, and expect the payoff to keep coming even if they quit.
Seek and You Will Find
It is rare that I see someone really seeking to lose weight who doesn’t lose it. People will often say “I tried, I really tried”, but if you were to reach deeeeep within their soul and could get the truth out of them, the real answer is “I tried a little”, “I tried once”, “I thought I tried”.
If you try to play the piano for the first time, you don’t expect to play Beethoven within a few “tries”. No, you don’t even learn a song at first. You start by learning the basics (#boring #uneventful #nofun). You have to learn the fundamentals before you can even read music or learn a song. With practice, you finally get to learn a song. You celebrate when you can finally play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” with one hand. Then, you celebrate again when you learn to add your left hand. Then, after practicing, practicing and practicing, you begin to play the same song a little better, a little easier. Then you are ready for the next song – and it will be just as elementary as the first.
I can remember piano lessons, and I admit I was SO impatient. I would get so frustrated. I wanted to immediately jump in and play a more difficult “cool” song effortlessly without much practice. As a result, I’d take shortcuts. I’d play by ear, instead of reading music. I’d make up things that sounded good just so I could keep appearing to move forward. The problem was, I wasn’t moving forward. I was exactly where I left off. I might have “sounded” better, but I had not improved.
How often do we act like this in life? We do what we want to do to make us appear more successful (with our job, with our weight loss, with relationships, with God), yet many times we are exactly where we left off – exactly in the same place we were when we stopped actually WORKING.
I want to challenge you today to SEEK HARDER. Seek the things you desire to improve in your life with all your might. Seek answers to your weight loss plateau, seek help in your marriage, seek God in your life – and seek until you find.
God doesn’t ever ask us to do work for no reward. A matter of fact, He constantly talks about what we “get” when we seek Him. The key is understanding the word seek. I think we think of the word “seek” more like Steve seeks something in the fridge. He opens the door, looks at the contents and closes the door saying “Bonnie, where’s the BBQ sauce?” I’ll reply with “it should be in the door”. He’ll tell me he looked there. I will go on to list a few other places it could be and he’ll tell me he looked there too. The fact is, he didn’t really SEEK, he looked. Of course, I’ll go right to the refrigerator, open the door, move a few items out of the way and find it within 30 seconds. Why? I wasn’t looking, I was seeking.
Vines Dictionary’s definition of ‘Seek':
To “seek” to ascertain a meaning (meaning, seek until you understand)
Are you seeking things like that? Are you seeking God like that? Are you seeking answers to your marriage issues or weight issues like that? Striving for, seeking until you fully understand, seeking until you find what you are looking for?
I had to laugh when Joyce Meyer was talking about how people act like they don’t understand what “seeking God” means. She then listed off a few examples of how we seek out stuff in life, like the woman seeking a 75% OFF sale or the guy in the deer stand seeking the deer in the freezing cold.
Don’t you think your life is worth the effort to REALLY seek the things that really matter? Your physical health, your spiritual health – happiness, joy, peace and well-being?
Today, make a commitment to stop looking and start SEEKING.
Today’s Spiritual Workout:
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. Proverbs 8:17
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! 1 Chronicles 16:11
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. Psalms 34:10
Before you can set goals, before you can change your ways, before you make any big decisions, before you commit to anything, there is something you must do first. You must consider the cost. Then, you weigh the cost with the reward.
Most people fail because they are too focused on the reward to consider the cost. They don’t dig deep enough to find out exactly what sacrifices are required. They jump in blindly ready to get the reward, without really being prepared for the work. As a result they fail, they quit or they get fired, divorced or unfriended.
How many times do we see this is the job place? People seem so excited to get a job, to get the paycheck, to enjoy the benefits….but they seem shocked they have to do a job – as if they had no clue they’d be expected to actually work for the pay.
You see it in the marriage. People love the idea of being loved, but forget there is a cost. Is it worth it? Heck yeah!!!! But, sadly, many people never really, REALLY think about what will be expected of them if they want to continue to be loved “til death do us part”.
When it comes to fitness, there is also a cost. Being fit costs time. It normally cost some amount of money. It may even cost you relationships (typically unhealthy ones you don’t need anyway). It will likely cost your favorite food fix, giving up a few bad habits and it the price of hard work. Sacrifices must be made. The question you have to ask yourself is “are you willing to make the sacrifice to get the reward?”.
David (in 1 Chronicles) was smart and understood true sacrifice. After he screwed up big time, he desired to pay full price for the sacrifice he was going to give to the Lord. Even after being offered a gift, he insisted on paying FULL price. I believe we should have that type of desire in everything we do. We should live in a way where we aren’t always looking for shortcuts all the time, but we are looking on ways we can pay in full – and be excited to do it.
As we say in the fitness world, EARN IT. Not that we can ever earn God’s forgiveness or love, there is something to say about how good it feels to earn our pay and to earn our good health. Even as a Christian, it’s great to know we are doing the right thing. It’s the earning process that is the learning process.
If we mess up, we need to accept it fully, and be willing to pay for our mistake in FULL. If we ate too much, if we were lazy and if we were irresponsible, we deserve where we are and we should be OK with paying for it. Anything else would be cheating (like David felt).
We can’t expect to fix a mistake without cost. We also can’t expect there not to be repercussions to our mistake and act surprised or irritated when we face them. We can’t expect to have someone else fix us. We can’t keep trying to find someone, or something, to take the blame.
We must be willing to pay full price for our mistakes. We must embrace the work, realizing it’s the work that will make us proud. It’s the hard work that will grow our character and shape us into the person God desires us to be. Short cuts cut corners, including cutting out important part of our personal growth. Not only that, they rarely work.
Insist on paying full price!
“When you want to give up, just think of the people who want to see you fail. Don’t give them that pleasure.”
This was a quote I posted on instagram yesterday, along with this text as I was thinking out loud: “Sometimes you don’t care about failing as long as you can fail privately. But when you realize there are people out there who would actually enjoy watching you fail, laugh at you behind your back and rejoice in your defeat, it’s sometimes just what you need to make you mad enough, hurt deep enough and become determined enough to do whatever it takes to not give them that pleasure! So instead. While it really doesn’t matter what they think, you can use the very thing they mean for harm to fuel you to succeed. So go ahead and hate on me and wish me harm or failure, because it’s exactly what I need to go one more rep, one more step, one more try.”
Later last night, Steve and I had a long chat about this. First, we both agree that you should lose weight, be healthy or try to reach your goals for YOURSELF. Not to prove a point, not to do it for your spouse or not to do it because someone is making you. No. The first reason we work on our fitness is for our OWN good. Agreed?
Fear of Failure or Fuel for Success?
So, the next question was “if you shouldn’t care about what people think, is it wrong to use what they think to fuel you to succeed?” Personally, I don’t think so – as long as you can use it (within reason) for a positive, healthy result.
I know good and well I should care less what people think. We all have haters. No matter how nice you are or how “good” you are, people will dislike you, wish you failure and be happy if you don’t succeed. Why? It stems from jealousy. If you succeed, it is just a reminder of what they could do or have if they tried as hard as you did. When people feel bad about themselves, they don’t want to be around people who actually are happy, healthy or successful. OR, if it’s a rival, sometimes it’s simply because they want all the attention and want to stay on top. Either way, since you will always have these people in your life, you can decide now what type of response you will have. You can A: ignore them (not a bad idea), B: resent them or C: benefit from them. I choose either A or C (depending on the person or situation).
Most of the time I use it to fuel me, to hold me accountable, and to stretch me to do more than I am willing to do. I am extremely lazy by nature. I was born with one extra big lazy bone. While some areas are easy for me to succeed, other areas (like discipline and physical labor) are challenging. So, I have to figure out ways to push myself, to motivate myself and to keep myself pressing forward to my goal. How do I do that? I use one of my character flaws to actually bring about good in my life.
Say hello to pride.
Pride: Good or Bad
Webster defines it as: “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.” There you have it. Pride. Yuck!
Pride is typically referred to as a very negative characteristic, and it’s something I am not proud of at all (no pun intended lol). I can’t particularly say I get deep satisfaction from my own achievements, however I can admit I get deep dissatisfaction with failure. I HATE to fail – so much so, I won’t even try something new if there is a risk of bombing at it. This is something I discovered recently and am working to improve. I am not perfect so I don’t know why I have such high expectations of myself, but I do. Always have.
“It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.” Proverbs 25:27
I believe it is healthy and normal to have a certain amount of pride and have those proud moments. I can be proud of an accomplishment or take pride in my work. However, if I am full of pride and haughtiness, I think that’s totally wrong. (When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2). Webster choose these synonyms for prideful: disdainful, haughty, lofty, lordly, superior. And the main antonym for prideful is humble. Another words, you can’t be prideful and humble at the same time, so it’s something you really have to keep in check.
Just like it’s wrong to eat too much “honey” (AKA: food), you can have too much pride. If I’m careful to manage my pride and not focus on the selfish victorious feeling (that deep satisfaction Webster talks about), I can use the very thing that is meant for bad to bring about good in my life. The same way it is not good to care what people think, we shouldn’t not care at all – to the point we lose our drive to be the best we can be. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” 1 Corinthians 9:24. The last thing God wants us to do is become complacent, and I think many people say “I don’t care what they think” as a way to stay complacent. Sure, don’t measure your self-worth based on what others think, but why not use their opinions to encourage self-examination and drive to become better?
Some people use competitions to drive them, some use weight loss contests to push them or they even reward themselves with money or shopping. I really don’t have a need to succeed big, I just don’t want to fail big. I love striving for goals, but they are regular normal goals – nothing insane, nothing flashy, just me trying to be the best me.
One of the things that drives me is knowing people are counting on me to lead by practicing what I preach. I also know there are people are counting on me to fail. Even Joyce Meyer uses Satan’s desire to ruin her day or damage her ministry to fuel her to do what’s right in good. She calls it giving Satan a ultimate black eye. I love it! Whatever you choose to use to drive you, we could all use a little more accountability.
What drives you? What gets under your skin? What pushes YOU to succeed? Do you train for a race? Do you work towards hitting the stage? Do you exercise to improve skill and compete in physical competitions like CrossFit games or mud runs? Or do you let those nasty mean coworkers of yours fuel you to keep showing up even though they’ve already made fun of your dieting, already reminded you of how many times you failed, told you of all their friends who have “tried that” and it didn’t work, and taunt you with chocolate and fast food? There’s no wrong answer here. You just have to figure out what you need to use to push you to improve and not give up. :)
But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7
My body wants to do a lot of things that are bad for me. It wants to overeat, to overreact, to be lazy, to be angry at times, to be comfortable all the time, to protect itself… but that’s not what I want. So, I work hard to not give my body what it wants. I fight to do what is right, because what my body wants and what is right are two totally different things most of the time.
Sadly, we often let our body beat us up, without even trying to fight back – even if it goes totally against what is best for us. You may say, “but I just have no self-control”. Yes you do. Joyce Meyer was talking about this yesterday. She said she used to throw a fit when her kids would make a mess, and just totally lose her temper. For the longest time, she sincerely thought she just had a bad temper she couldn’t control. Then one day she had of her pastor coming to her house during one of those fits. She said it was clear she would have snapped out of that fit so fast it would make your head spin, and open that door with a glorious happy hello and not care at all about what the kids did. Why? Because we tend to practice more self-control in front of people we respect or want to impress.
You see, if you have the self-control to not overeat if I were sitting at the table, or if you are doing a weight loss contest for a big prize, then you can do it when no one’s looking or there’s no prize money. Unfortunately, we act our worst when no one is looking – but YOU know what you are doing. YOU are looking. So why don’t we matter more to our own self? It’s great for your trainer to be proud of you, but don’t YOU want to be proud of YOURSELF?
I want to challenge you today to practice more self-control. Every time your body tells you it wants to taste something sweet or wants a second plate, decide to put up a fight. Pretend you are in a ring with all your friends cheering you on. Envision yourself sitting with your most respected trainer or fitness professional. Think of how you would eat if Bob Harper were in your kitchen. Don’t think of what you are missing out on or what you are losing that moment, think of what you are LOSING if you give in – and think of what you are GAINING if you refuse your body’s desires.
Stop & Think
I believe many people fail because they simply don’t think before they cheat. Remember the old saying “WWJD?” (What Would Jesus Do?” Sometimes we need reminders like this to force us to think before we act. If I allow myself enough time to have a conversation with myself about what I am being tempted with, 9 times out of 10, I’ll talk some sense into myself. However, if I just grab something and push any accountable thoughts out of my head, I’m doomed.
Below are 6 really good questions to help you stay on track and learn to lead with your head, not your stomach.
6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Cheat
1. Is this going to bring me closer to my goal, or further away?
2. Am I wanting to eat for fuel or fun?
3. Will I feel better after I eat this, or worse?
4. Is it worth the calories? (If it ain’t worth it, don’t eat it!)
5. Would I eat this if ______________ was sitting next to me?
6. Will I be able to burn this cheat meal off in one sitting? (because you don’t want to eat in one sitting more than you can burn off)
It takes about 1 mile to erase 100 calories. A typical cheat meal at a restaurant can be well over 1,000 calories. That’s 10 miles you’d have to walk to erase that meal.
Transformation Requires Surrender
People love to learn what they can do to improve their life. They hunger for tips that are easy to apply, like read this devotional, attend this service, do this workout, take this supplement – but BOY do they NOT like to hear what they shouldn’t do, what they need to give up, what they need to CHANGE.
Most people are willing to work a little harder to get something, but most people are not willing to surrender. Surrender requires giving up something you like. Christianity requires giving up doing whatever you want. Fitness requires giving up eating whatever you want. The gain is worth it, but so many people resist surrender, holding on to what is really making them miserable to begin with.
That’s where the bondage comes in. We hold on to it, and it holds on to us – paralyzing us, and preventing us to be all we can be. In both cases, it’s not about doing, it’s about surrendering. Once we surrender, then and only then, can we experience real freedom. After we surrender, major life-changing transformation can begin.
Let’s establish one thing first. Food is good. Food is a gift from God. Food is to be enjoyed. Food becomes bad only when we abuse it. Excess food is damaging. Unhealthy food eaten often is damaging. When food begins to rule our life, reshape our body, destroy our self-esteem, control our thoughts, affect our health and slow us down – food is wrong. It’s sin.
I know, harsh words from the skinny girl. Food is a big topic in our house. It’s a constant struggle for us too. We love food. We love to eat, but we can’t let it control our life.
Did you know God talks about food and gives specific commands and advice about it? Why? Why does he care what we eat and how much we eat? Simple! It’s not about giving a list of things to avoid, giving us more rules to be mean. He knows what it does to us. He knows we can’t be who He called us to be while we are fat, out of shape and miserable. He knows what’s BEST for us – and He wants us to have a flourishing, healthy, happy, long, vibrant life! He is not a God of rules, He is a God of love. The same way you want your loved ones to feel good and be healthy, He wants the same for His children.
10 Scriptures Concerning Food & Our Body
Even if you don’t believe in God, there is not one person who can deny that every word written is for our benefit. That it is helpful and good. “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.. Even if you just feel it’s a good self-help book, it’s words have great value and shouldn’t be taken lightly. And if you DO believe in God, then you REALLY want to take this even more seriously. Check it out…
If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it. Proverbs 25:16
How many people could we feed if we shared our food instead of kept it to ourself. It’s amazing how much we are not willing to share. I bet I could feed an entire family every single day with the leftovers I should be leaving behind. Instead, we prefer to eat until we are stuffed…eating more than we even need.
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. Philippians 3:19
In verse 18, Paul actually calls these people enemies of Christ. ouch! Could it be that our testimony is affected when we don’t practice self control and when we feed our fleshly desires in such a way we are more controlled by our stomach than we are by God? hmmmmm…
…make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14
The New International Version says “do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh”. How often do we think of how much we want to indulge, planning our cheat meal, dreaming of food. We should be thinking of ways to resist it, practice control and think of things that are helpful to us and others.
#4 STUFFING YOURSELF:
When dining with a rich man, be on your guard and don’t stuff yourself, though it all tastes so good. Proverbs 23:1
Matthew Henry explains this verse, “The sin we are warned against is luxury and sensuality, and the indulgence of the appetite in eating and drinking, a sin that most easily besets us.” The next verse (vs 2) says “And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” Don’t freak! It’s not saying slit your throat here and just kill yourself if you can’t control yourself. Matthew Henry explains it beautifully saying, “We must alarm ourselves into temperance and moderation: “Put a knife to thy throat, that is, restrain thyself, as it were with a sword hanging over thy head, from all excess.” It is clear scripture takes this topic very seriously.
They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved. Psalm 78:18
The people were rebelling against God, being unappreciative. They wanted meat. This is when God sent down manna, but it wasn’t long before they were complaining about that too. Can you imagine? Complaining about God giving you a miracle of food falling from the sky. Ironically, we do it all the time. God has given us a miracle too. Each plant that sprouts up from the ground and delivers us a beautiful piece of fruit is a miracle, a gift. When did eating fruit and vegetables become such a bad thing? Do we demand the food we crave and have we become unappreciative of the food God has given us? What lengths are we willing to get it?
#6 FOOD ANXIETY
“Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25-34
How much do we stress about dieting, eating healthy, being around unhealthy food, dreaming about eating foods we love and anxious about eating healthy? I love this line: “Is not life more than food? Powerful!”
#7 FOOD ADDICTION:
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12
Many are enslaved to food. We look at food like “we have the right to eat whatever we want. What scripture is saying is you “have the right to do anything, but not everything is beneficial” you “have a right to do anything, but do not be mastered/controlled by anything”. Sure, you have the right to eat a cookie, but does that cookie control you? Ouch again!
#8 GLUTTONY & ALCOHOLISM:
Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep (laziness) clothes them in rags. Proverbs 23:20-21
This tells me 3 things. One, it’s wrong to drink and eat too much. Two, it’s wrong to be lazy and sleep too much. Three, we shouldn’t even hang out with people that eat and drink too much. Why? It’s not because we are too good for them or that they are bad necessarily. I think it’s because God knows it’s too tempting for us to join them.
#9 UNHEALTHY CHOICES:
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Eating too much and eating unhealthy foods destroys our body – plain and simple. We have an obligation to protect God’s temple, to protect our body.
#10 GOOD CHOICES: (Make God proud!)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
How wonderful to think I can honor God even in what I eat and drink. If we never thought he cares about what we eat or drink, this scripture corrects that. He does care, and He desires us to honor him even when we eat and drink. People are always watching what we do, and He knows we can even be a good example at the table. Awesome!
Please know I struggle with this too. You aren’t alone. I hope you were encouraged by these scriptures. I know some of these scriptures seem harsh, but if your kid jets out in traffic, do you think you’d be gentle and whisper? No! You’d yell and yank them back to safety in a heartbeat. God wants to yank you to safety! He cares about you – even what you eat and drink. What LOVE! <3
This topic excites me SO much! I would love to write a book on this and a matching devotional! I pray someday I can do this!!!
CAUTION: THIS MIGHT HURT A LITTLE….
How often do we lie to ourself (and others) to avoid REALLY having to make a change. We point the finger, we make excuses, we pretend we are doing all the right things – when we know we are still cheating, still making poor choices and still not giving it 100%. We want people to think we are doing our best and that the weight just isn’t coming off. We want people to be proud of us, to admire us for trying. We don’t want anyone to know our real struggle with laziness or our lack of discipline in the kitchen, so we pretend to do all the right things while sneaking food, slacking on our workout & taking shortcuts.
We enjoy posting our healthy meals on facebook, while we carefully cheat in private, hiding our “sins” so no one sees. We are quick to post our run, but not our pace. We love to “check-in” to the gym, but we don’t “check-in” to the ice cream parlor. If people really knew, would they figure out your secret? Would someone be bold enough to hold you accountable and encourage you to take your fitness to the next level? Oh my! Change may be required then! “No one can know” you think. “No one can find out!”.
Even if we say we want something SOOO bad, your results and your actions may beg to differ. They tell on you. Even if we are dishonest to ourself and everyone else, the facts are there. What we eat in private shows up in public. What we refuse to admit is still there, still a problem – and WILL be a problem forever until you can be strong enough to admit it and face it. THEN, and only then, will you be set free. Denying your struggle imprisons you. The truth really can set you free.
What secrets are you keeping?
“When Is the Last Time You Attempted Something Great?”
This is a very powerful question. I believe many of us avoid attempting great tasks to avoid experiencing great failure. There comes a time you have to ask yourself, “What is worse? Attempting something great and possibly failiing, or not attempting anything great at all and succeeding?”
I’ve recently been asked to do some pretty scary things – scary to me at least. My first instinct was to say “no”. Then I had to ask myself why I was saying no. Was it because it would hurt me? No. Was it because it would hurt anyone else? No. Was it because I was afraid to fail. The answer was yes – but that should NEVER stop me from trying something. When it boiled down to it, I had no other choice but to decide to do it because I really had no good reason not to at least try.
Sadly, many people never really ever try to do something great simply because they don’t want to fail. I believe we are looking at success all wrong. Success is not reaching your goal without opposition, struggle, failures or setbacks. Success is reaching your goal, or getting closer to your goal, despite all of that. Success is also not just doing what you are good at. You can be successful in just trying. You can be more successful attempting success, even if you fall short of your goal. Your goal may be in trying alone. Let me explain…
The Success In Trying
Someone recently suggested my mom be in the Ms. Senior Pageant. She thought long and hard on it and decided it was time she step outside her box and do it. Her goal was not to win. Her goal was to get out of her comfort zone and to experience personal growth, as well as encourage the other ladies there. Her goal was to show up.
Her dress didn’t come in time but she didn’t stress (I admit I would have freaked!). She could have easily used that as an excuse to back out. She could have taken that as an omen, “well it’s just not mean to be”, but she didn’t. She pressed on. She was scheduled to be out of town for work a lot, and she could have used that as an excuse for poor timing, but she found a way to fit it all in. She had never done a pageant before and struggled with the perception of being in a “beauty pageant” but she focused on what good could come out of instead. She had plenty of really good excuses but decided to not use one of them.
Just showing up for her was a big win. We were all so proud because we knew she was way out of her box. She was proud of herself. She said she would sit there at practice thinking “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” As I watched her on stage, I marveled at her bravery, knowing it wasn’t easy for her. I gleamed with pride and reflected on my own need to step outside my comfort zone. She not only did it – to her surprise, she won.
What If You Fail?
What if she failed? What if she didn’t even get to be a runner up? Would she really have failed? Absolutely not. She met some amazing ladies and she could celebrate the victory of stepping out of her box. The moment she said “Yes, I’ll do it” she succeeded. The moment she stepped on stage, she was a winner because she attempted something great. She practiced and performed her song. She memorized her philosophy. She learned how to walk, dance and prepare for such an event. She walked away with more experience, more confidence and more ways to encourage people. Whether she walked away with a crown on her head and a sash across her chest or not, she would have left a better person, a more fully developed person with one more great experience under her belt. Victory was inevitable.
I want to challenge you today to try something great. Don’t just attempt to lose 20lbs, attempt to lose the full 50 you need to lose. Ladie,s don’t try to just get any man, aim to find the BEST and GREATEST man for you. Don’t settle for a job you are miserable, keep applying for the job you’ve always wanted. Don’t settle for an average marriage, work hard to develop a phenomenal marriage. In every single attempt, you will likely see much improvement whether you reach your desired goal or not.
“Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.” (Les Brown)
Someone recently asked me how to get ripped. I said, “It depends on where you stop”. Here’s what I mean.
The woman who asked that question was already losing weight and leaning out. Whether she gets thin or gets super fit looking just depends on where she decides to stop. She can continue to lose fat as long as she continues her program. While your desired destination can be different than someone else’s, the process is basically the same. The same fit road has many stops along the way. You can stop at 10lbs lost, 20lbs lost or go until you reach super cut and fit.
The problem is, many people quit when they get comfortable. They think, “wow! I really like 20lbs lost. This is a fun place, I’ll stay here for a while and play”. While they are there, they start allowing for more calories – hence, breaking the weight loss cycle.
Another problem is people fall into a false sense of security. They get thin and begin to feel like they “deserve” the extra calories because they are now so fit and active. Because they aren’t as strict during this phase, they quickly lose a grip on how many calories they are really taking in – and before you know it, they’ve plateaued or even gained some calories back. The knee-jerk reaction is to rely on exercise to erase the extra calories, but they will quickly discover it is much easier to eat 1,000 than it is to burn 1,000 calories. Sadly, many people learn the hard way – after they gain some (or all) of their weight back.
Avoid making these mistakes. Avoid missing out on your biggest victory. Next time you feel like stopping, or settling for the results you’ve gotten so far, ask yourself this question: “What if I keep going?” Amazing things happen! “Better” happens! Even if you are doing great now, you can even do better if you keep pressing on. You can continue to improve. You can continue to get fitter, stronger, leaner, healthier. You can be victorious.
Don’t stop short of your greatest victory. Small victories are awesome, but you have even bigger victories awaiting you if you can just keep pressing on!
Joyce Meyer said, “Every time you feed the flesh, you strengthen it. This is good if you are trying to build a good habit, but detrimental if you are trying to stop a bad habit. The way to “kill the flesh” is to starve it; to stop feeding it.”
What a simple concept: Starve what you want to die, feed what you want to live. In the context Joyce was talking about, she was addressing feeding our physical desires, not necessarily just our stomach. Our body has physical desires. It lusts, it hungers, it wants to sleep, it wants to be lazy. Sometimes it wants to get angry, it wants to cuss, it wants to be get its way and if we LET it get its way, without practicing self control, the flesh will kill you.
So how do we subdue the flesh and grow the things we want to grow in our life? The same way we kill something or grow anything – it depends on how we feed it.
Trust me, if you don’t feed a plant it will die. If you don’t believe me, I’ll show you the plants on my back porch. However, the plants in my yard are thriving. Why? Because my lawn people take really good care of those plants. They feed it fertilizer, they get rid of weeds that may choke out any life, and they give it regular attention.
Our fitness is the same way. It requires attention. The more we feed it, the more it will grow. This means we need to attend to it regular. It also means we need to pull anything out of our life that might choke out our progress. And, it means we need to starve our bad habits (poor eating habits, laziness, business, etc) that will make it more difficult to succeed.
You are in control of your flesh. You decide what lives and what dies.
You are what you think:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, (this means you decide what you want your mind should be on, think on those things, meditate on them, focus on them, fix it and keep it there. However, we can think on better things, healthier things, greater things…) “but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. Romans 8:5
What have you been allowing yourself to set your mind on that doesn’t belong? Decide now to not meditate on those things and replace those thoughts on the things you want to grow in your life. :)