You know, as much as people dread Mondays, I appreciate the fact that it’s the perfect day to start something new. This month, I’m all about fresh starts and new beginnings, so I appreciate that each week I have an easy day to designate as the first day of something new.
I mentioned at the beginning of the month, that October was going to be a fresh start for fitness and healthy living for Stuart and me. It’s gone really well so far, and I am loving the feeling of getting back in shape and having more energy! And today I’m going to broaden my fresh start to include a new aspect.
The sermon we heard yesterday at church really struck a chord in my heart. Our pastor was preaching on James 1:2-4:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
This verse is a great companion to the verse I used in my fresh start post mentioned above. In that post I admitted that too many times I have the best intentions, but very bad follow through. Well folks, perseverance is alllllll about follow through. Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church, defined perseverance this way:
“Perseverance is learning to break through quitting points.”
Talk about a wrench right into your heart. Perseverance isn’t easy, because usually you are persevering through something difficult, a very trying time, with the goal of just making it through each day. Or you could be trying to accomplish something that takes a lot of patience and hard work. And many times along the way there are moments where quitting seems easier than pushing through. But whenever you do push through, have patience, work harder, and just do it, the end result and the feeling of accomplishment makes all that hard work and sweat totally worth it!
Therefore, not only is this month a fresh start in fitness and health, but I’m going to try and tackle something else I’ve always struggled with:
Ok, this may sound weird. Usually, people say they want to work on getting MORE sleep, not less. Not me. I’m a total night owl, and when I was single, I would work at night until around 2am, and sleep until 10am. (Don’t judge me.) My body just likes that better. And I have been fortunate to not have a job where I have to wake up early. But at the same time, not having somewhere to be at a certain time makes it really difficult to wake up and begin my day at a reasonable hour. You are probably rolling your eyes right now, because you’d give anything to be able to sleep in on the weekends let alone most days during the week as well. I know, it’s kind of ridiculous. I’m sorry. That’s why I’m changing it.
My fresh start that begins today, is that for the next 40 days I’m going to wake up 2 hours earlier than I normally do. Get my run in early so I don’t fret about fitting it in the rest of the day. Eat breakfast at a reasonable hour. Spend time with Jesus and get my day started off on a better foot. The perseverance part is going to come in when I just want to sleep, and don’t feel like waking up early. I’m going to trust in God to help me persevere through those moments, and force myself to “just do it.” (I know this may seem like a silly vow, and something most 27 year olds should already have a handle on, but like I said, when you’re in ministry and don’t have a 9-5 job, sometimes your schedule gets a little whack, and well, here we are.) This is part of my #lifewithoutfilters series after all…so if I’m vulnerable, you’re not allowed to judge :) I see it as one small (and very necessary) step in the direction of me becoming “mature and complete” as James puts it.
Oh and the 40 days number is the time our pastor suggested for us to set as our “perseverance practice.” I mean, if Jesus could persevere through 40 days without food and water, with the devil trying to get him to do all sorts of things that would provide him easily with food, water, and rescue from the desert, I think I can go without 2 extra hours of sleep per day for that long. (See Matthew 4:1-11 for how Jesus did it.)
Feel free to leave a comment on some things you’ve persevered through and how you found the motivation to keep going! I’d love to hear from you!