A Work in Progress

Recently, we got a journal called Christ Walk, a 40-Day Spiritual Fitness Program by Anna Fitch Courie. In the Introduction, she describes herself as “average, average height, average looks, average intelligence, average Christian, average person.” That’s pretty average. She had trained as an RN and worked as a health promotion coordinator for the 1st Infantry Division. So she should have some insights on how to be healthy.

She started a walking program at her church, and that’s the basis of most of this book. It’s more of an encouraging journal than a how-to exercise manual. In other words, instead of a coach in your ear, she’s a friend who goes through the journey with you.

The book we got was especially interesting because it was second-hand and someone had already filled it in. Reading through it was like watching someone else go through the program.

But the lady who had the book ran into some of the same problems that many of us encounter. She had great plans, but life jumped in. She wanted to walk on the treadmill each day. Now, treadmills are great, but not so much everyday. It’s easy to get bored and they’re never in a convenient place.

On day four, she journaled that her family schedule conflicted with her goal, that she hurt, and she didn’t do anything. “She failed.” Her words. Day five was also a bad day and you could see the trend building on her. One bad day often leads to another, and then to abandoning the plan.

I was proud of her though, she kept with it. She gave it another try toward the end, but she’d lost heart. If she was like many of us, clothes were hanging on her treadmill.

The last few weeks were underlined, but the journal part was blank. And you could tell it had become a burden. She was probably in a class doing her homework.

Her goal of growing spiritually, mentally, and physically turned into just another chore. Been there, done that.

Here are a few tips I would have given her:

Treadmill
Treadmill

 

Keep your program flexible. The treadmill is tough because you can’t fit it into your daily life. I like tracking steps with a fitbit (mine is a Garmin Vivofit) because I can do a little here, a little there, it all adds up. But a treadmill is great as the days get colder, shorter, and wetter. I have an indoor bike and I can ride it and still be home with Madison. But, when the weather permits, I want to walk in the neighborhood. And little bits add up. You do have to do it all at once.

Don’t jump in the deep end. She expected herself to hit her goals from day one. That’s why she wrote, “She hurts.” Start light, not necessarily easy. Remember, this was a forty day challenge. You don’t want to do on day one, what you’ll do on day 40. Allow yourself to build up to it.

Pack extra rope. She didn’t leave herself any room for error. Something will happen to murk up your plans and schedule. Your family will have sports, sickness, something. Your work will require overtime. Be ready to allow yourself to miss a day or to work around the conflict.

And finally, you may fail, but you aren’t a failure. Any step forward is a step forward. Again, like I said in the last post, life is a marathon. You will have a lot of starts and stops. But don’t let your stops be final, make them timeouts and get back up. In running, there’s a formula:

 

DNS<DNF<DL

 

This means, read backwards, Dead Last is better than Did Not Finish, which is better than Did Not Start. At least you got off the couch. It’s about doing better than you think, or you did before.

Our goal should be to keep striving to get better; physically, mentally, and spiritually. Remember, this side of Heaven, you will always be a work in progress.

Think Before You Stop, or stinking thinking leaving you sinking?

“Stinking thinking”. A cute little saying, isn’t it? But it traps many lot of us and prevents us from achieving the goals we have for ourselves.

Devil on a shoulderWe envision it as a little devil on our shoulder whispering in our ear. And he is so subtle. We get an opportunity to do something, something we have been longing to do, maybe even training to do. Continue reading “Think Before You Stop, or stinking thinking leaving you sinking?”

Facing the Giants

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.  Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

I’ve started reading Les Parrott’s 3 Seconds. One of the early points that resonated with me was to embrace the challenges that confront us. I’ve found that this is rarely my first reaction. I usually want to leave, or find a way out. But that was rarely the way to success.

Parrott gave a great illustration of what it takes to make us strong.

Jack Badal, a zookeeper, invited his friend Gary Richmond to watch an amazing phenomenon: an Angola giraffe giving birth. He stood next to Jack, watching this elegant creature as she stood to her feet. That’s when the calf’s front hooves and head became visible.

“When is she going to lie down?” Gary asked Jack.

“She won’t.” he answered.

“But her hindquarters are nearly ten feet off the ground!” he exclaimed. “Isn’t anyone going to catch the calf?”

“Try catching it if you want,” Jack responded, “But its mother has enough strength in her hind legs to kick your head off.”

Soon the calf hurled forth, landing on his back. His mother waited for about a minute, then kicked her baby, sending it sprawling head over hooves.

“Why’d she do that?” he asked.

“She wants it to get up.”

Whenever the baby ceased struggling to rise, the mother prodded it with a hearty kick. Finally, the calf stood— wobbly, but upright. The mother kicked it off its feet again!

“She wants it to remember how it got up,” Jack offered. “In the wild, if it didn’t quickly follow the herd, predators would pick it off. (3 Seconds, pages 61-62)

Continue reading “Facing the Giants”