Maintaining the choice to live well is like doing lunges with dumbbells. Proper Stance. Step Forward. Don’t topple over and don’t overextend. Lunge. Return to start. Annnnnd, That’s one.
On one side, there is the reminder of what we know we should be doing with regularity. We should choose crunchy and green more often than we choose thick crust with extra cheese. We should choose the early alarm and a morning cardio session instead of forty extra minutes of toasty blanket solace. We should drink the water, take the stairs, do the hard thing.
However, often at the starting edge of our workout— there is life. Sick children. Vacation schedules. Work conflicts. Fitness injuries. Even plain old exhaustion can set us firmly on the bench for a time.
The lines often smear and blur between what we know we should do and what we must do every day. Every now and then, the choice to live well can seem overshadowed by the struggle to merely survive. We may be shocked how easily derailment can come after so many good steps in the right direction.
A seeming return to where we began can make us forget why we began in the first place.
But this is when the next steps matter the most— for just past resistance is breakthrough.
Resistance is not an invitation to quit. It is not an exit sign but a dare to continue.
The first steps toward a healthy lifestyle are important, but it is the continual leaning in that produces actual change. It is brave to go to that first fitness class. It is twice as brave to still be going a year later. Even braver still, to go after missing a month straight. The adoption of a good habit is good, but the continuance of one is far better.
“Resistance is an opportunity to be sustained by a God who never tires.”
Resistance is not an invitation to quit. It is not an exit sign but a dare to continue. It is an opportunity to be sustained by a God who never tires. It is a chance to start again, to get back at it. To remember why we do the things we do with discipline.
If you find yourself remembering a time when you were perhaps more faithful to your health, your art, or to any other good thing you know you are called to– may I make a suggestion? Disregard how long it has been, and get back at it. Relax in the knowledge that a time of rest can be Holy and refreshing, and return to those regular rhythms of rigor.
We are meant to rest, to take a break, to allow for pause.
We are meant to remember that we cannot make the world spin even if we burn all our candles at both of their ends.
We should not restrict ourselves from the very same grace that applies in every other area of life.
We may help ourselves to a long drink from that grace and rest when we need refreshing.
Rest is a good gift from a good God. After the rest however, we need to return to the hard work. Knowing that both rest and pause and even derailment should only be for a time, and they are all designed to push us forward into the next leg of the journey.
*This article originally appeared in the Fall issue of Thrive Magazine, a publication of Warren Baptist Church.