I didn’t want to go to the gym this morning. And, frankly, if I hadn’t promised my wife that we were going, I probably would have blown it off. But we went and I got on the elliptical and started my workout. I decided not to push it and just let it “come to me.” This is hard because I am a “pusher.” Even though I didn’t want to be there, I will push and try to beat my best time or my best calorie burn or whatever statistic I can come up with. But I simply let my body lead with what it could do. About half-way through the work out, I was feeling pretty good. By the time I finished I actually came close to what my normal workout would have been (if I had gone full-bore). I had a good sweat and I was glad that I did it. Among other things, the workout gave me the idea for this morning’s blog:
“Getting there is half the battle.”
This is true in our spiritual lives as well as our physical lives. In the spiritual disciplines of solitude, silence, Sabbath, worship, Bible reading, giving, being in community, serving in ministry, reaching out to others, the hardest step is always the first one. It’s that decision to simply do it.
As one of my cycling training buddies told me, “The hardest part of the training ride is walking out the door and taking the bike off the rack.”
Once we decide and take that first step to spend time with Jesus or open that Bible or get ready for the worship service or write that tithe check, it’s downhill from there. God meets us at that place of faith, usually in a very powerful way.
But that first step is so hard. If “getting there is half the battle,” what can I do to help me win that half of the battle? Here are some things that have helped me:
- Make a plan ahead of time to do it. “When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This has more to do with intentionality, than with the specific plan. The night before our workout, Letty and I planned to work out the following morning at 5:30am. It was intentional.
- Get someone to partner with you. One of my close friends, Pastor Gary Keith, asked his entire church to pray about reading through the Bible together via Facebook. He and several church members covenanted to read the passages daily and then write about it (even if it was just a sentence or two) on their Facebook page. This was very powerful to keep him accountable to the process (and sometimes it was difficult). As I mentioned earlier, I would not have taken one step toward the gym if I had not already agreed with Letty to do it.
- Ask God for grace and strength to “get there.” The spiritual disciplines are things God wants us to engage in because they help us to draw near to Him and hear His voice. So to ask Him to empower us to take those first steps is a prayer He loves to answer. It’s funny that we ask God to do “big” things (like heal sickness, provide jobs, etc. – which he does do), but we are reluctant to ask Him to do a smaller, yet very significant thing, that helps us to do His will. As I quoted 2 Corinthians a couple of days ago, “When we are weak, He is strong.”
So where is God calling you to a deeper spiritual discipline?
What would a plan of action entail?