I am not an athlete.
I am the opposite of an athlete. No one in my family—immediate or extended—is known for their athleticism.
When I was growing up, my family used to vacation with another family we were close to. Their daughters were close to the age of my sister and me, and they were athletes. Every morning of vacation they would go for a miles-long run in the blazing sun, and come back and do resistance work.
I would sit on the couch and eat crackers while I watched them.
Physical fitness has never been something I have excelled at. I have registered for marathons and I have never run one. I have started and stopped more times than I care to count.
The thing about putting some sort of effort toward fitness is that in large part, it’s about starting over. It’s about being motivated, starting, tapering off, quitting, and starting again. I can’t say I have ever done well at keeping up with an exercise routine – but something keeps me starting it up again, over and over.
I tend to avoid exercise when I know I’m out of shape. It’s going to hurt. I’m going to sweat a lot. Maybe my workout clothes are tighter than the last time I put them on. It’s not going to be fun. But the only way to get better is to have that rough first day where you face the facts – you’re not where you should be. If you’d kept up with it, you’d be in great shape by now. But you didn’t.
This feeling in my physical exercise reflects a feeling I sometimes have in my walk with God. There are times that one day of slacking off turns into two days, and the next thing you know it’s been too long since you’ve dealt with the thing you needed to deal with. Next thing you know, you can’t find your Bible or your journal is collecting dust. And you dread getting back to it.
Or maybe there’s something in your life—a relationship, a financial issue, an addiction problem—and you thought you had it under control but you’ve let the balance of rest and discipline get out of whack, and now you have to start over. I’ve been there.
What I’ve learned about exercise or any other area of discipline in my life, is that there’s nothing to it but to do it. There’s no way around it. And no one else can do it for you. It’s just about putting on your shoes, or putting out your mat, or dusting off your weights, and doing the thing.
So I want to encourage you – re-starting the good habit is hard. And you have to face the facts of where you are and how far you’ve fallen. But the benefits of discipline are always good.
With that being said, I’m off to dust off my running shoes, update my playlist, and start again.
What areas of discipline are you avoiding in your life? How might some stressors be relieved if you did the thing you know you need to do? What do you need to do to start?
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