Resistance to Change
As a personal trainer this is my constant quest with my clients – figuring out what is causing them to resist truly living a healthy lifestyle – nutrition, being active, stress management, sleep, etc. Because it doesn’t matter how often they workout with me, or how hard I work them when we are together, if they don’t make changes to their diet and lifestyle in the other 23 hours and 30 minutes of the day they are not under my supervision… they will see zero changes in weight, body composition, health, etc. Often they become frustrated that they are not seeing the scale move, and either quit working out altogether, or they go to the other extreme and severely restrict their diets which causes a pendulum swing in the other direction when willpower has been all used up and they say “screw it” and sabotage all of their efforts by indulging in unhealthy foods/behaviors and further taking them away from the body that they truly desire – a fit, healthy one that not only looks good, but feels good too. I’ve done it myself with my body in the past, but when I am completely honest with myself, I know that the extra servings of treats I sneak when no one is looking is actually the culprit to my undesired extra few pounds. What’s crazy is that even when I am honest with myself about what’s causing me to pack on a few pounds, I will still continue to indulge in said treats for temporary pleasure… until I reach the point where my unhappiness with my external self surpasses the unhappiness I feel when I show restraint and say no to that treat….
I can say the same thing in my spiritual life… I read God’s word, and I pray to Him for guidance, and yet I am resistant to change my behaviors. I will literally read a passage from scripture, and immediately do something to contradict it. Or I will pray for forgiveness, and immediately do the exact thing I just repented from! I will ask for guidance, and if I don’t immediately hear a resounding voice telling me EXACTLY the steps I need to take I will believe that I am forgotten, or even worse when I do hear God speak to me on what I need to do, then I rationalize why I should do it a different way… then I get frustrated that I feel like I’m not making any progress in life. I am just like my clients who look to me for advice on how to get the body they desire, but never quite achieve it, because they do it their own way… or if they do follow my instructions for a little while, they do not persevere long enough to reach their goal. They quit before the reward and say it “just doesn’t work for me” that they are “genetically not capable of being a healthy weight” or whatever they conjure up to convince themselves that their dream body is not possible. I am doing the same thing to God. I have convinced myself that “it’s just not possible for me” or that there is something inherently “broken” in me, making the abundantly blessed life that I believe God has planned for me is not actually possible. I am struggling in taking continuous, persevering action to get to a truly fulfilling life in Christ. I am holding onto bad influences and bad behaviors, even though they are not truly satisfying… just like my “treats” I find temporary pleasure in the indulgence, but afterward I am filled with shame and regret, and I know I am ultimately stepping further away from my goal – a calm, peaceful, happy, fulfilling, loving, purposeful life in Christ. When I do vow to change, I go to the other extreme and say I’m just going “cold turkey” and cutting people and influences out of my life to avoid temptation altogether, but when my willpower runs out I end up swinging back the other way and engaging in behaviors that really don’t even satisfy me, if I’m completely honest with myself… then I figure I’ve already screwed up, so why not… and down the rabbit hole of regret I go… My current example of this is I had already come to the conclusion that after my fast there is no way I will have enough willpower avoid sinful habits forever, so I had already accepted that I was going to fail after this temporary time of severe restriction, and I was going to sin! I’m new to this whole fasting thing, but I seriously doubt that is the desired outcome. 😉 So, I’m taking a different approach to my outlook, because I don’t want to swing back the other way… I really don’t. Today in my Bible study I admitted my anxiety about not being strong enough to avoid temptation forever, but what I realized (God revealed) is instead of focusing on if I am strong enough to resist temptation, all I need to focus on is my desire to honor God, and He will give me the strength I need to overcome. He will fight this battle for me, and take away my desire… IF I focus on Him. That’s not to say that Satan won’t tempt me, and I may stumble temporarily, but just like in my meditation practice I have been working on lately, I just need to redirect my focus on Him and it will calm the storm inside of me. Just like I told a client the other day… they don’t need to worry about eating healthy for the rest of their lives… they only need to focus on the meal in front of them – making sure that ONE meal is filled with healthy options… one meal. That’s it. What they don’t realize is if they can repeat that one behavior of focusing on making that one meal a healthy meal, they’ll suddenly create a healthy lifestyle without even realizing it. That is how I intend to handle temptation from this point forward – focus on God’s desire for me in that ONE moment, and overtime it will change my actions, and remove barriers I have made, and allow opportunities for all of the blessings He has for me to manifest into my life naturally.