Seven weeks ago, I began to get back into shape.
No, this isn't a fitness post. Stick with me here.
I set a goal and got to it. That's my way. No messing around. Work hard, get to where I want to be as soon as I can and be done with it. I set my first goal and started working.
The first week, I lost almost 2 pounds. Yay, me!
The next week, I had gained 1.5 of it back. Really?! I worked out every day, counted every single calorie, and I still gained.
My husband's response: "It comes and it goes." For me, it seems to come more than go. I was a bit depressed. I almost felt like quitting. What's the point?
But I didn't quit. I kept on going. I pushed through it. I researched what I could be doing wrong and I adjusted my lifestyle to fix it.
I met my first goal in 5 weeks. Then, I set my second goal - the one I knew would be the most difficult as it was to lose those last 5 stubborn pounds. I began that goal 2 weeks ago. I have lost one pound. And I did that over a week ago. The rest still hangs on as tight as a mountain climber who just lost his tether rope.
I have biked, increased my exercise, taken a break, continued to count calories, upped my protein and maintained my water intake. All to no avail.
Well, I shouldn't say that. I know I am healthier. I know I am more fit and my clothes fit better. Isn't that the goal? So, why am I tempted to give up?
Because I am not getting what I want when I want it. Bottom line: I am human. And humans give up, most often, out of selfishness and after losing sight of the big picture. We get tired, discouraged, think that the lack of immediate results equates to a lost cause on the whole. It's a lie and we believe it.
I must not be selfish and short-sighted, but I must push through. We all must keep going.
My children and I are part of a ministry from our church in which we travel to a recreation center every Monday afternoon to tell city children about Jesus and His love for them. This is something we have been doing for 4 or 5 years. Last Monday, I was exhausted. We had just come off of our church's missions conference - a highlight of our year. It is a time of spiritual edification, challenge, great fellowship, and late nights. Several late nights. So, while I had just had my eyes re-opened to the great need for the world to hear the gospel, I toyed with the idea of skipping our ministry last Monday. I was just so tired. To be honest, the only thing that kept me going was the amount of kids who depend on me for a ride out there. If I don't go, most of the team doesn't show up. So, I went.
I pushed through the exhaustion; not because I wanted to, but because I had a duty to fulfill. God will use whatever it takes to keep us going for Him.
That afternoon, a little boy got saved. One of the girls who rides in my van was the one who explained the gospel to him. The Lord also allowed me to lay out the entire plan of salvation to a young girl who hung on every word. She didn't get saved, but she is thinking about it.
I kept going. God rewarded.
Yesterday, more children got saved. We have gone months without seeing anyone accept Christ. I believe many of us began to wonder in our hearts if it was worth the time every week. Is it worth it? Week after week, kids come and go. Kids cause trouble. Kids listen but don't respond.
But we keep going. Because we have seen the pattern. We get discouraged, and just at that point, God shines a little light. He encourages us. He lets us know that it IS worth it. HE is worth it. This is exactly what we are called to do at this time.
Just as in diet and exercise, we have times in our spiritual walk when we see results. Yet, there are many times where we seem to hit a plateau. Nothing we do seems to matter. We read and seem to get nothing. We pray and see no results. We plant, yet we don't reap. We burn the midnight oil in ministry and nothing happens. We reach a crossroads and wonder if we should quit.
Why? Because we are selfish. We have lost sight of the ultimate goal.
Is it true that nothing is happening? Are we not spiritually healthier? Are we not spiritually more fit? Does not our countenance shine a little clearer, our wisdom become a little sharper?
We want immediate results, yet God knows that pushing through the hard times is what builds endurance and faith. Don't lose sight of the big picture. The goal is to hear Christ say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant." We just need to keep going, for while we do not see external results, Christ is all the time working within us - making us stronger, healthier, and more fit.
Keep partaking of the Bread of the Word.
Keep drinking the Living Water.
Keep exercising the gift God gave you.
Keep in the race.
Keep going for God.
You may not see the results today, but they will come. Keep going and you will, indeed, hear:
Now, it's time for me to get back on that elliptical....