A few weeks ago, I started a morning routine of getting up thirty minutes early to take a walk. Before moving I walked everywhere, and lately I have really missed the difference that those trips to church, the school, friends’ houses, and the store made. For the first time in ages I felt like I was gaining weight. I dreaded summer when my legs would show. I resented the entire swimsuit industry and every celebrity who I knew was only skinny because she had a personal trainer. Knowing that I most likely would not be willing to wear jeans all summer long, and that those Victorian bathing outfits (that suddenly looked very appealing) probably wouldn’t hit the runway anytime soon, I added the morning walk three days per week and built up to more.
I loved it immediately. I could think, pray, brainstorm writing ideas, and walk as fast and as long as I wanted to. Just as the experts predicted, I felt more energized, my body bounced back, my clothes fit like they should again, and I slept better. As an added bonus, I found many spiritual applications to work into devotionals later. (Nothing is wasted on a writer, including fitness programs.)
So, with all this, you would think I sprang from my bed every morning at 5:30, ready to throw on my dated sweats and head out the door. Uh, not exactly. Yesterday, I woke up with a headache that seemed like the perfect excuse to sleep in. This morning, I just didn’t feel like it.
Then, I thought about the benefits and how quickly they could be undone. I considered my son who’d caught on to my new routine and would ask, “So, did you go on your walk this morning?”
Did I really want to go back? How would I answer Nathan? Believe me, it would not be unlike him to say after hearing a serious of excuses, “So, in other words, you were just being lazy?”
Both times, I dragged myself out of bed, made a mental note to buy some new sweats, and took my walk, and both times I was glad I did.
Why is it that even when we begin reaping the rewards of a beneficial routine, we want to slack off? We know the new thing leaves us feeling far more alive, healthy, and happy, yet the slacker in us still wants to skip it occasionally. I could probably spend my entire day exploring the answer, and we all have our set of reasons, but in the end, I guess it all comes down to choice. Do we want to go back to that icky place that inspired us to take action? Do we really want to explain ourselves to those who know us well enough to recognize when we are just being lazy? How badly do we really want to feel better, look better, be closer to God, or do fill-in-the-blank better?
This morning taught me that the answer lies in what I ultimately choose to do, and that I will never regret doing the hard-but-right thing.
What new routine has made a difference in your life lately? What keeps you from slacking off? What good things is God teaching you as you learn to be more disciplined?