Despite my parent’s best efforts to raise me right, I still don’t do a very good job of keeping my room clean. I will get the cleaning bug now and then and tear it apart in a day. I’ll dust every corner, organize every drawer, and even clean under the bed. And after it’s all spotless and clean, I’ll sit on the bed and vow to myself to keep it that way. But then my husband (because OF COURSE I would never do this) will go through a drawer or clothes basket looking for something and make a big mess. Now it takes a bit more time and effort to get the room back to looking good. So I put it off to do later. Then, little by little, more clothes get piled on top of the old ones until the bedroom floor looks like it’s been re-carpeted with socks and underwear.
In so many areas of our lives, we start off super excited and motivated only to slowly fade away from our original zeal. We make commitments to eat healthy, exercise, get closer to our spouses, keep the laundry caught up, read our Bibles, save money, or any other number of things.
I’ve seen it over and over again in the church. Broken people find the church, give their lives over to God and are on fire for the first few months. But then the newness wears off and day to day life gets in the way. They realize that there is work involved in staying connected with God - emotion can only take you so far. People stop doing the things that are necessary for success. They pray less, they study their Bible less. They stop hanging out with people with common beliefs and goals and start going back to old friends who don’t share spiritual goals. The outcome is always the same - the person slowly loses the desire to live the life they were so excited about not that long ago. More times than not, despite attempts to reach out to them, they eventually just go back to the very life that they were so desperate to escape.
I do it with weight loss. I get started and am confident. I am resolved. I am usually even excited. I look forward to shopping for healthy foods. I enjoy my daily walks. I feel better. But after a while, the initial burst of weight loss drops off and it slows to the 1-2 pounds a week rate. Results don’t seem to be quite as dramatic. Something stressful happens in my life that I use as an excuse to pig out and then feel defeated or derailed. All of a sudden, losing weight doesn’t seem like a good thing anymore - it seems like a chore to be done.
In all of these areas, the points when we feel at our lowest are the ones that truly define what we are made of. When things get tough, do we find people and tools to get ourselves motivated again or do we throw in the towel and just go back to the way we were to begin with? Because these times WILL come. So we need to determine in our hearts now (before they happen) that when they do show up, we will not be defeated. We will stop, regroup, and get ourselves pumped up again. Even if you don’t feel like it. Surround yourself with people who share your goals. Keep things that motivated you the first time around nearby so you can refer back to them. Do whatever you need to…Just don’t give up.
Today, I weigh seven pounds more than I did when we first started this journey. It’s embarrassing and it was discouraging. But I am still resolved to succeed. I am regrouping and am learning from my mistakes. I won’t give up.
I’ll leave you with a quote I read on a friend’s Facebook page:
“Motivation is a by-product of action, not the cause of it. You act yourself into a feeling, not feel yourself into action.”