What I am about to say applies to ME! While it may be true of others, this is about me. Perhaps it is due to the American way of doing things. We sent people to the moon aboard rockets built by the lowest builder. We like 'one stop shopping.' We have drive up windows on banks and pharmacies. This is truly a nation of 'getting the most for the least.' It might be money, it might be involvement, it might be effort. Whatever it is, most for least is our motto.
I think about the things in my life I want to change. This week, some of us have started a 90 Day Health Challenge. I have been down this road before, with some success. Unfortunately, I have back some of the progress that I made over the years. Being healthy takes work. It is something we have to work on every day, think about all the time. Which foods should I eat, have I got my exercise minutes in, am I helping my friends through encouragement and accountability, are all questions we ask, not I ask, every day. I want to be healthy, I want to lose weight, I want me knees to feel better, I want to avoid colds and the flu. Those are all good things, but they take effort, work.
Being an American I find myself trying to reach those goes but not do the work. As an example, one of the important tools available to us regarding food is to journal what we eat. I hate to journal what I eat! Mostly because I want to eat whatever I want, when I want to, and journaling reminds we that not everything that enters my mouth should. A great way to know we are getting enough exercise is to track it. I have found over the last decade (I have been at this a while) that I over estimate how much I walk, the steps I take, the hours at the gym, and the like. I need the hard cold reality check. Having people involved in our journey helps as well. I need others. I need to let people know what I am doing, or trying to do, and have them look into my activity and not be afraid to speak into it. Partners are critical. It all takes effort and work.
The same is true of our spiritual journey as well. I want to be tight with God. I want my life to reflect his values and my efforts contribute to his kingdom. But I like to take spiritual shortcuts as well. Prayer takes time. Yes it does, but it is critical to our walk. Reading the Bible might interfere with my TV watching. Yes it might and that is not a bad thing. I can't memorize as well as I used to. OK, but memorizing God's work is still a valuable tool to becoming the people of God. And then there's church. It is a day to sleep in, and the Seahawks have two playoff games the next two weeks in the morning. And the preacher talks like forever. All true, but so what. Maximum result, minimum effort.
I need the people I have in church. I need their encouragement. I need their accountability. I need people. People can be some challenging. They have their opinions, and expectations. They like things I don't and expect things of me that I am not good at. Yup, they do, and the work it takes to meet the challenge is worth every second we invest in them. There is nothing more valuable than an hour (and a half) hanging with God's people, singing his praising, and being pushed along on this journey toward the kingdom of God.