As a kid I was always a small little runt. I was short and quite skinny. My grandfather had a nickname for me that he would endearingly say with his broken english: "chicken wing". To give you an idea of how skinny I was, as a teenager my forearms were actually bigger then my biceps, which is when I gained the nickname Popeye. I had a very high metabolism and it seemed I could eat anything and I would loose weight.
When I got married I weighed a total of 133 pounds and my forearms were still bigger than my biceps. But at some point my metabolism took a vacation and all the McDonalds, Pop and Pizza of Youth Ministry caught up with me. I had gotten to a weight of 190 pounds at a height of 5'7 with a long list of health concerns.
I could see that I needed to make a change and with the warnings of various doctors I knew that things would only get worse, but most things in life are easier said than done. I tried dieting and exercise, but with a busy schedule and being a new father, I found it quite hard to find any motivation let alone any real traction towards lasting results. But at the age of 29, with only two months left before turning thirty, I finally said enough is enough.
My wife had just started working for a friend who ran a weight loss program and as I sat through her introduction videos of the program, I decided I had no good reason not to do it myself. I resolved that I would do it with no cheating (since the more I cheated, the more it would cost and the longer I needed to be on the program and I didn't want to spend even an extra day longer than I had to--it was hard) and I lost up to 25 pounds in one month.
I had gotten my weight down to a healthier state and not only that but cured many of the health issues I was facing like high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
Things have not been roses and puppy dogs since. I have realized that maintaining this can be just as much work and I have had to make some major changes in my life. Even the discipline of exercising regularly can be hard. But with all things in life, be it right eating, exercise, positive thinking, spiritual development, etc. it takes hard work and all things take time and need to start somewhere.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. // 1 Cor. 9:24
If you are going to run a marathon, you don't just get up one morning and line up with a number and run that marathon. You get up and start by running around the block, then you run the block twice, then you run the block three times and so on and so on. You always have the goal in mind of winning that race, crossing that finish line, reaching that goal and you train and run that race like you are going to win. But every race starts with us learning how to walk.
One of the things I do is a full body work out three times a week. Trust me, it isn't much, I don't have a lot of equipment and for what the routine entails, it isn't very impressive in comparison to what you can see in any fitness magazine, but all things start with humble beginings. All to often, I think we forget that the people we look up to, be it the giants of the faith, the musicians and artists who master the craft, the guy down the street who is building a successful business started somewhere.
We live in a microwave culture that looks for the easy fix, the immediate results, the easy path. But most things that are worth it, take hard work and that hard work starts somewhere. Even if we are not disillusioned to think there is a magic pill, we often obsess with the end goal result and spend too much time thinking how far off we are to the ultimate result and how much farther we have to go.
Let me encourage you: If it is eating healthier, losing weight, exercising, working on relationships, learning the guitar, kicking a bad habit, fighting the temptations of sin, reading your Bible, deepening yourself in the discipline of meditation and prayer, realize that all things start with small steps. Instead of beating yourself up about where you wish you could be, ask yourself, what can I do today? What small steps can you take today? What small thing can you change today? Start somewhere... anywhere. Don't wait until the perfect time, cause that time will never come. If you fail, get back up and try again, or try at it at another angle. Let your life be filled with oh wells instead of what ifs. Look at the possibilities for today, simply take the first step and let tomorrow worry about itself. Remember, before we can run, we need to learn to walk.
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