Today I started the Ripped in 30 days workout series with Jillian Michaels. I had been thinking to myself, “Why wait until after New Year’s to get motivated and take the diet/workout plunge?”
As I lay on the floor screaming like a woman in labor (OK, only one scream), I started (predictably) having second thoughts and wondering what in the world I had been thinking.
Usually I don’t embark on something like this without taking a long time to consider and count the cost (if I have the strength to continue to the end and not quit in the middle).
This time I considered it for about one night and today, at the prodding of the Holy Spirit, I jumped right in.
Last night, after I googled “Does Ripped in 30 days really work?” (if I’m going to expend that kind of energy I know Jillian requires, I want to hear some incredible testimonies), I came across a comment board on Walmart.com. Rave reviews and story after story of weight loss.
Until one that made me stop and I just had to laugh.
It was a particularly long review that can be summarized as follows: I did not follow the diet plan and I did not do all the workouts, and I’m really disappointed because I did not see any results.
But isn’t that how most of us live our lives?
Like the comedian Brian Regan said, “I was going to the doctor, and I knew it was going to be bad because it was bad last year and I didn’t do anything different.”
Everyone laughs. Mostly because we all know that is how we are.
We want the stars, but we walk through the mud wondering what happened.
We go through the motions of life or spirituality, but often we just check out.
It’s this kind of apathy that God is trying to jolt us out of with a verse like, “the kingdom of God is forcefully advancing and forceful men and women take hold of it” (Matthew 11:12, my paraphrase).
As I lay gasping for breath on the floor, pushing myself to my limits, it was nearly impossible to check out (no matter how bad I wanted to!).
I was begging Jesus for help to finish, 30 seconds at a time, and, when it was all over I was really happy. Even if I couldn’t walk without shaking and desperately needed a shower, I finished! Yes!
I started thinking: How much more should we let the Father of our souls push us beyond what we think we can handle spiritually so we can reap a spiritual harvest?
I’m not crazy here. Scripture backs me up: “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” (1 Cor 9:24)
We think, “Oh that’s nice. A race. What a nice spiritual metaphor.”
Let me remind you that people who win races get lots of money, and that most people on earth are highly motivated by that . I’ve been to a marathon and watched people puke and pass out trying to finish. Some of them raced for first prize and some of them raced for a personal best. Races are tough and racing is not a leisurely stroll in the park.
I don’t want to get to the end of my life and think, “well, I didn’t really follow the Holy Spirit or do what He said, and I’m really disappointed with the results.”
I believe it’s time to wake up, shake off our sleepiness, and take hold of the kingdom of God.
What do I mean, practically speaking? Pray hard! Repent honestly. Get rid of sin that drags us away from God. Ask God what to do with our life and days and keep asking until He tells us. Then (and this is the hard part), obey. Not halfway, but all the way — with a whole heart.
This kind of choice does not have to wait until after Christmas.