I’ve reached (or nearly reached) a few of milestones in my life recently, and it got me thinking about goals. One of them is about my weight, but my weight is not really the point, so bear with me.
I eat pretty healthy foods, by and large, and I cleanse a couple of times a year. But even healthy foods add up, and I hadn’t been very careful about how much I was eating. And 1500 calories is 1500 calories, whether it’s ice cream or nuts. “Good fat” is better than “bad fat,” but it’s still fat. I had edged over the line into an “overweight” BMI and I wasn’t satisfied with that, for all the right reasons. So, I set a goal of getting back into my healthy BMI. I started counting calories again, said “no” to various treats – healthy and unhealthy, and I’ve reached my goal.
I spent a lot of years lamenting that I had not gotten my college degree. So, I decided to go back to school, as a considerably older student. I have struggled, and studied, and said “no” to a lot of activities that I would have really enjoyed participating in. But I’m there. In under four weeks, I will have earned my bachelor’s degree, inside of three and a half years.
I was lugging around anger resulting from unforgiveness, and it was causing some spiritual “clogging up” so that I wasn’t connecting with God the way I often do, and that most precious relationship was suffering, along with others. I didn’t want that anymore. An opportunity came up to rid myself of that unforgiveness, and I took it. I had to let go of some beliefs that had become comfortable to me even though they were hurting me. I had to make myself vulnerable. I had to admit some hurtful truths. And I had to forgive. All of it. Everyone. Even myself. But I did it. It will be a work that will continue in my life, and I imagine there will be more in the immediate future, as God calls it to mind. I pray that it becomes a habit to forgive immediately. For now, I am at peace again, and the spiritual clog has been removed.
Here’s the point: All of these goals were met only through painful sacrifice. I had to give something up – food, time, unforgiveness, activities I enjoy, and more in order to reach these goals. I fear that in our postmodern society many of us (myself included, at times) expect to get something for nothing. We lament that we don’t have the body we want, the job we want, the freedom we crave, the relationships we desire, the mate we long for, the spiritual life we yearn for, and on and on it goes. But we are not willing to set the goals, make the sacrifices and do the hard, hard work it takes to reach them.
I have suffered from this very poison myself. The poison of lethargy. The poison of entitlement. Poison I mixed up and ingested all on my own, with no one else to blame. And then I stopped. I did a life detox. I started hanging around motivated, strong women who inspire, encourage and support me. I wanted “the thing” and so I did “the stuff.”
So can you. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it’s work. Yes, it requires sacrifice. But sister (or brother), let me tell you, it is absolutely, undoubtedly, unquestionably worth it!
Give that regret you’re holding onto a name. Find out what it takes to get rid of it. Set a goal. Get your mind right, get a healthy support system, and get rid of people who would rather keep you down so they feel better or so they have company in their own pool of regret. And then do “the stuff.”
You’ll thank yourself when you get to the other side of that goal, and then you get to celebrate your victory and help encourage someone else to cross their finish line!