28 days later (Sounds like a movie title. :-) ...less than 60 days left! The summer is definitely flying by!!
I was just reading through my first two posts about my summer goals, and, while this post will not rival their length or cleverness, I believe it will certainly challenged their passion.
June was a crazy month, and July is off and flying. During the first month of "my summer goals," I have learned a lot, but I think the most important lesson is that all goals must be accompanied not only by determination and will but also by patience and flexibility. And let me tell you, none of these come naturally.
Believe it or not, I am not self-motivated person. I usually thrive on competition. But sometime during the course of my development (most likely high school), I started to believe that "going the extra mile" was not worth the effort. While this appears to contradict my perfectionism, I found the two worked well together. Because I was a perfectionist, my first attempt was usually good enough to show effort, for which I earned fairly descent grades and the approval of parents and teachers while avoiding the ridicule of siblings, classmates, peers, etc. (I also learned that if you look like you're doing a lot, you do not usually have to do the things that take the extra work...e.g. piano competition.) It seemed to worked to everyone's benefit...except mine...in the long run. Because I stopped "going the extra mile," I stopped succeeding. (I got really good at procrastinating though!) I was not valedictorian of my high school class, I did not learn how to play the piano all that well (despite Bee's best efforts!), I was not an all-star basketball or soccer player, I did not excel to a very high level with the stringed bass, I did not finish with high honors in college, I did not score exceptionally well on my GRE's, I did not go to medical school, I was not accepted into the Genetic Counseling program, I do not do well at the "wife" thing, and I am not a stellar Christian (I do not read my Bible every day, I do not pray like I should, and I do not trust God by default).
Now please understand what I'm saying. I know I did/do "ok," BUT I also know that every bit that I have achieved is due SOLELY to the talents that God has given me and His grace in my life, NOT my effort. And, while I understand that that sounds like the way it is supposed to be ("Not I but Christ"), I KNOW that I have not been a good steward. The Bible says, "to whom much has been given, much MORE will be required" (Luke 12:48). I don't know why God gave me talents, but I do know that I fail to use them to the best of my ability. And so I stand today, a lazy, over-weight, procrastinator, who struggles to fully accomplish anything. It's clear that I lack determination and will.
But I also lack patience and flexibility. Something that I've said, almost as an excuse, several times over the last four weeks is, "I'm an 'all or nothing' kind of person." WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! Well...it means that I try something once, and then, if it doesn't go the way I want or if I don't see the results I want, I quit. I can go from 100% to 0% committed in less than 5 minutes (probably more like 5 seconds!). Ask Adam! (Well...maybe don't ask him.) But I can tell you that it does not make for a good success rate.So...all of that has been going through my head while I've been struggling to progress with my goals for the summer. There are days and things that go okay, where I have determination and will. As impossible as it sounds, I've cut out soda and almost all chocolate from my diet during the week (and I only have a little bit on the weekends). Drinking my "water" is going much better. I ran/walked 3.2 miles (5K) for the first time OUTSIDE in a little over 36 minutes. My calorie counting has been going well, and I've been exercising at least twice a week. I've lost over 4 lbs, and I have kept it off...even with weekends packed with picnics, going out, and dinners with friends. I've even stopped biting/picking my nails...for the most part (see picture as proof!), and I've started going for bi-weekly manicures to help my new nails grow stronger. All-in-all, I'm doing "ok"...but that's what I've done with my entire life. "OK" got me to 30-lbs over-weight and unable to run for more than two minutes. "OK" has kept me from going to grad school. "OK" is my house always being dirty (or "lived in" as I like to call it) and my piano playing being just barely good enough. I know I can't take over the world, but I'd like my life to be better than "OK". HOW DO I DO THAT?!?!
Well...that's where the patience and flexibility come in. It's taking every bit of patience I have to keep going; to realize that 4 lbs is 4 lbs less than I weighed 4 weeks ago, that cutting out soda is a healthy choice not just a "losing weight" choice, that having nails is a good thing (even if I want to pick them or tap them on the desk every 30 seconds). And it's taking flexibility when I feel like I'm not doing enough; when I need to remember that there are only 24 hours in a day, that tomorrow will come with a whole new set of challenges that need to be overcome in addition to the progress I want to make on my goals, that God has all things worked out for His glory and my good...no matter what it feels like.
Determination and will...patience and flexibility. I don't have them...but I'm working on them. And I am, by God's grace, going to do better than "OK."