Tonight, his dad stood in front of our church and spoke again. He talked about how at times he is reluctant to do things that God calls him to do. He talked about how pride can sometimes get in the way of doing things we know we should. And he talked about how when we do those things despite ourselves, the reward is great. And again I felt that although he was talking about his own journey, he was speaking to me. I jokingly told him before he got up there not to make me cry. He didn’t listen.
I’m not going to lie. I am still reluctant to make big changes. It is now almost 1 AM and I just ate a Snickers bar. My love for comfort and ease sometimes just outweighs my desire to do what I know I should. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have control over my own body. I am in my own way.
I’m not telling you this because I need a pep talk or anything. I don’t need to be told to hang in there. I have no plans of quitting. I don’t need to be told that I’m doing great. I am doing fairly well in making some changes, but I know I can do better. On the other hand, I also don’t need to be told that in order to succeed, I need to “just do it.” I know what kind of resolve and dedication it is going to take to do this - but we all need to go through and fix and address different issues to get us to the point where we CAN just do it. I’m working it out.
I’m telling you this because when I am struggling with doing things that I have been called to do, I like to hear about other people who are also having a hard time but are not giving up. I find spiritual strength for my own journey in hearing about others who are persevering. I don’t always want to hear about the person who had “the perfect plan” for success. I don’t always want to see the happy after pictures. We watch daytime TV and read magazines and we see people everywhere who have had complete body and life transformations. And not to take anything away from those successes, but we don’t always hear about some of the rises and falls that these people go through in order to have “the perfect body“ or “the perfect life” being advertised.
Progress usually isn’t charted on a straight line. It is full of ups and downs. Some of those downs can be a cookie (or a Snickers bar) that shouldn’t have been eaten. Other downs can be days when you swear off vegetables and vow to only eat Pizza Hut for the rest of your life. But true progress happens when, instead of allowing our downs to keep dipping further, we turn it around and head back up again. That’s what I need to continually make an effort to do…keep stretching myself further and further towards the goal.
Getting started is usually the hardest part to overcome. It will take some of us longer than others, and that is okay. As long as we are moving in the right direction and keep reminding ourselves how great it will be when we can finally claim our prize, we will get there. And it will all be worth it.
Oh. And the son of my friends…he called them today for the first time in over a month. He called to tell them that he had completed phase one of his recovery and had been advanced to phase two. He is happy. He is healthy. He is enthusiastic. He is no longer addicted to heroin. Now HE is the one who finally has hope.
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14