SHE pushes through her cheat days
Working out makes me mad. I know it isn't Christ-like, but legit, "don't you dare talk to me for at least an hour." The longest stretch of time I remember working out for was my freshman year in college when I had noisy neighbors, so I worked out just to get tired and pass out. After that year, my workout clothes became my lounging clothes and the gym was a distant memory blurred out by late-night pizza orders and chip binges.
It's amazing how a little peer pressure will change your motivation though. So this recent summer, after many failed attempts at being consistent, I decided to take my close friend's offer and engage in a 30-day challenge. The challenge was simple. Being active at least once a day, but instead turn your workout into worship.
Day 1 of the challenge was definitely a roller coaster ride, in my case it ended in sore muscles that felt like Jell-o. It started out very optimistic though. I tore the tag off of the "official workout" shirt I had purchased 3 months prior and never used, laced up my sneakers, grabbed my water, and reviewed my music playlist. I was completely dressed for the part. If anyone saw me for 30 seconds or less, they would definitely think I was a pro.
Fast forward an hour later, and I was blatantly side-eyeing my friend who in my mind was secretly trying to killing me with all her exercises. In my mind, I kept telling myself...see this is why you just eat chips and embrace your body.
After she left for the weekend, we promised to keep up with each other's daily workouts.
The next day, I managed to drag myself to the gym. Unlike in times before, this wasn't a workout, it was worship. My friend taught me to begin my stretches with a prayer thanking God for the opportunity to worship him with my workout, and then I strictly listened to praise and worship music.
By the end of the 45 minutes, I realized that focusing on Christ helped to block out the negative self-talk that usually tells me to "quit" or "just end early."
While I finished my 30-day challenge, Day 31 was sadly the beginning to a long string of cheat days. Mentally I beat myself up for being so weak and uncommitted.
Does this sound like your Christian walk sometimes? Whether it was a decision to turn-away from a temptation or even a commitment to spend time with God every day, those ‘cheat days’ can easily derail our communication with God and our faith. We allow lies and extreme thinking to cloud the truth about who He is, especially when we fall short of our own sense of perfection.
The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
God knows we are not able to be perfect all the time. That’s why He came on Earth to live a perfect life, so that we could be credited His righteousness instead. While that doesn’t let us off the hook to take advantage of His consistent faithfulness in our lives, it does open up an opportunity to trade condemnation for conviction.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
So whether we experience a ‘cheat day’ on Day 2 or Day 20, allow the Holy Spirit to convict your heart, and begin to take back the power that He gives us to fight against the distractions that get in between us and our Father.
What distractions in your life easily cause you to experience 'cheat days'?
How can you systematically remove those distractions every day to fully experience your relationship with God?