Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 5 - The First Miles are the Toughest

It's Saturday, and I find myself going to a source of wisdom that has served me well over the years - the Chinese fortune cookie. Of course I'm kidding, but I have been very amused by the little paper thoughts in the past, and today was certainly no exception.

One of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon when my kids are away, as I've already mentioned, is on the couch with Adam watching some football. Adding his big, comfy sweatshirt, a Montana Grizzly playoff game, and some sesame chicken into the mix means this afternoon couldn't be much more relaxing.

For those of you that know me, it may not come as a surprise that I ate the fortune cookie before we even opened the main dish. I really love desert - especially when it contains a hidden treasure and doesn't have too many calories! I broke the cookie in half, pulled out the paper, and laughed aloud as I read "You may lack the ambition, but not the ability to succeed". Classic me. I am not a "task-oriented" person. Writing every day for 30 days is quite a challenge for me. I am very good at having the desire to do something, but following through is an entirely different matter.

Last year, during my final semester of college, I took a "filler" class just for credits called "Personal Health and Wellness". Thirty percent of our grade was doing a Behavior Modification project. We had to choose a behavior at the beginning of the semester, that we felt needed to be changed, and then journal about the process throughout the course. According to our text, there were certain stages to go through before a behavior was modified. Now, before you think I'm going to put you to sleep with a classroom-style lecture, let me just say this: there were two steps that I still remember as being critical to the process - awareness and action. I think I could confidently say that for the majority of the time I've been a single parent, I've been aware of things I've needed to change. Making the change - or the action - was always the part that was overwhelming to me.

Over the summer, I trained for and ran the 3rd annual Missoula Half Marathon. I am certainly not built for running distance races, but I wanted to challenge myself and try something new. One of the things I remember very well was that every time I would go out for a long run, the first few miles were the hardest. After I got past 2 or 3 miles, I would get into a rhythm and feel a little more comfortable. It wasn't that running was easy after that, because it was still a challenge, but I always did feel a little better once I got going.

I think of those runs often when I think of change. Gaining momentum always seems to be the toughest part. Taking the first step towards a change of behavior is almost certainly met with opposition. Satan doesn't want us to change the things that are keeping us from being effective, and when we take steps in the direction of doing so, you can bet he won't sit back and cheer.

We're all in different places in our lives, but I'm willing to bet we all have areas that could use a little work. I would much rather have someone say about me that I lacked ability, but that I gave everything I had, and possessed a heart that was open when God prompted me to change.

" Lord, my prayer today is for my heart. I know the next couple of weeks may be difficult as you reveal areas in my life that need some change. Please open my eyes to be aware of those areas, and give me the courage to take action. Thank you that you are with me through the first few 'miles' and that I never have to walk alone. Thank you that you are able to do 'immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to YOUR power.' May I be someone with ambition for you. Remind me that your power is perfected in my weakness, and you are always on my side. Please help me to gain momentum as I pursue change."

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