I realized I was the only one who could make the change for me.
And making the change didn’t feel good.
Have you been there, Dear Reader? I’m amazed at how many things in life just don’t feel good. And what is our initial reaction when something doesn’t feel good? Well, we stop it, don’t we? Whatever “it” is, whether it’s physical pain, or emotional pain, or it takes too much of our time, or it takes too much of our commitment, oftentimes, we stop. We stop doing “it” even though, sometimes, “it” is the very thing needed in our lives.
At what age did we learn this, I wonder? At what age did we consciously begin to say to ourselves: “This doesn’t feel good and I’m not going to do anything that doesn’t make me feel good.” I don’t think it’s in our early childhood. Think about that. Think of how many times we learned something as a child and yet, it didn’t feel particularly good.
- We learned to ride a bike and had our share of tumbles.
- We learned to roller skate and our knees paid a price.
- We learned our addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts which was a sheer study in gutting it out and memorizing the necessary information.
- We learned to follow rules, some that seemed painful at the time, to prevent less heartache and loss in the future.
When did we get the idea that if “it” was associated with pain, “it” was automatically bad?
I think I’ve told you, Dear Reader, having turned 50 this past year and with my daughter, a recent college grad, and my son now off to college, I finally had some time to take a good hard look at myself. I didn’t particularly feel well. I certainly wasn’t eating well and had the extra pounds to show for it. The biggest muscle in my body was my mouth and I could barely lift the laundry detergent from the cupboard. And my wreck leg, my wreck leg gave me all sorts of problems, almost daily. Stairs had become an issue. None of this was how I wanted to enter my last few decades here on earth.
So I decided that even though it would involve some pain (OK, some days a lot of pain) I was going to make some changes. That first 3.1 miles I ran lasted 39 minutes and my wreck leg hurt every step of the way. The first few times I went to a small cross fit workout in a friend’s garage, I wasn’t sure I would be able to walk the next day. (And believe me, I don’t make jokes about not being able to walk lightly!)
It hurt! It all hurt! And I was sick of it and tired of it and I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to quit. Yet, a funny thing happened as I kept doing what I knew I needed to do even though it was painful.
My pain started to subside. I found as I kept running, not only was I getting faster but my bum leg was getting stronger. I found that as I kept doing some modified cross fit and began lifting weights, my arms actually had some tone and muscle definition and it was hard to fathom that something that just a few short weeks prior had been too heavy for me to pick-up, was now, not even an issue. My eating, well, I will always struggle with turning to chocolate when I am stressed; however I found I could control it more, even though sometimes it was painful. And I went from a 39 minute 5K to my last virtual 5K (out of Chicago) to a time of 28:04. And the best part of it all. . .I now feel so much better. The irony that avoiding the pain was what was keeping me in pain is not lost on me.
And of course, this got me thinking. . .what other issues did I need to apply this principle to in my life.
- It’s painful to realize that my sins are truly sins–choices that separate me from God. Aren’t we masterful at justifying our gossip, or our hurtful and hateful thoughts towards others, as if somehow the sins God mentions in the Bible are really not sins, if I am committing them or I don’t truly think they are a choice worthy of separation from God?
- It’s painful to realize that God is not who I shape Him to be. . . that Who He is and what He says, goes, according to the scripture; that God’s plan for eternity will prevail and that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life.
- It’s painful to realize that even though I grow incredibly angry with some Christians and some of their decisions which I feel are callous, careless, and don’t put others first,” they” are not God. I cannot allow myself to get people confused with God.
And it hurts. It’s painful. But just because it doesn’t feel good, doesn’t mean it’s not good for me! We’ve been given one shot with our bodies, our minds, and our spirits. Sometimes the right choices will hurt but in the end, well, in the end the hurt will bring healing, goodness, joy, and eternal life. May you feel nothing but encouragement today, Dear Reader! Whether it’s something you are working on physically, mentally, or spiritually, may you and I both know that we are in this together . . . and sometimes it doesn’t necessarily feel good, but thank goodness we know we are not alone.
Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.