I often play tug-of-war with my willpower. Do you know what I mean?
Take, for instance, something I want, divide it by two, and then make a case for each side of the argument. Let's say I want to feel better about my body. (This is true, of course, as it probably is for many of you out there - those of you who are not robots, anyway). When I divide this thought in two, suddenly I see jogging and working out and sports bras and spandex and tighter abs on one side, and on the other side is some delectable cupcake or pasta dish or the sedentary state of relaxing in front of Downton Abbey for the night with a lovely goblet of Merlot. And just like that, I'm at war with myself. Whammo-kablammo, I'm at odds.
I hate this feeling. I am a gal who likes to know what I like, go after it, earn it/master it/consume it, and then move on to something new to conquer. Of course, there's no "conquering" life and the beauty/trouble with it all is that the awesome part to life is the ongoing challenge of it all. New lessons, more improvements, inexhaustible ways to limitlessly expand our horizons. And yet, so often I find myself collapsing on the couch watching TV and trying to escape it all. My goodness, this life is full of confusion.
Am I the only one who is just tired?
Okay, maybe I am. But, I doubt it. It seems to me that most of what I hear from my peers is about how relentless this world is getting, how most of us are just trying our hardest and feeling tired, and how we are all needing as much encouragement as we can get our hands on. I can't be alone in this, and thank goodness, I'm not!
Still, my self-war wages on. My wants combat my resources. My resources combat my strengths. My strengths combat my willpower. And so, I gravitate towards the path of least resistance. I manufacture excuses to fit my agenda. I manipulate my own ideas for what is "good enough" for my purpose. And, sadly (too many times) I am complacent with the thought that my life is perfect being nice and mediocre. This is comfortable. I can be this. This is fine.
But, then again, I've always been one to resist comfort. I like stretching my legs outside of the box, dipping my toes in new waters, taking the road less travelled (sometimes completely unmarked!) Are you with me?
I'm seeking some radical anti-self-war-changes for my life. "Radical" might be a bit of an overstatement. I bought a new dress today and that was pretty radical for me...so, don't get any crazy ideas here that I'm about to tell you I'm going vegan (I'm not) or shaving my head (never gonna happen).
No, no, it doesn't really have to do with any particular vice or item at all. Instead...this is the new and radical THOUGHT that popped in my head today and it sprung up in my brain like a geyser of self-reflection that swamped my muddy tug-o-war right out of the water:
It's not about giving in to what I want. It's about wanting what I already have to give.
I've juggled this around my brain for a little while now. I've applied it to my battles and it's starting to slowly de-bunk all these illusions I might have about myself. It's not about giving in to the cupcake, it's about choosing to be grateful for the body I'm already living this life in and caring for it out of the love I have for it's purpose. It's not about giving in to the self-loathing for the size I wish my thighs were, it's about learning to appreciate that these thighs walk me around to get me to where I'm supposed to be.
And so forth.
So, here I am, nearly one month deep into this new year. I didn't necessarily enter in with any grand resolutions. I am embracing 2013 and all it has for me, the trials and triumphs that are to come. But, I'm giving up this war on myself before it starts up again. I'm waving the white flag and ready to simply give rather than give up.
What do I have to give? is really the question I should be asking myself. And sometimes, I need to be okay with admitting that the answer might be "nothing more". This is okay. This is wonderful, really. This is necessary and honest.
At the end of a hard day when I'm a wife, a mother of two, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a cook, a writer, a maid, and a zillion other things (including a gripe) it has to be all I can do to collapse on the couch and watch Downton Abbey. That's okay. Sometimes. But, I also need to grow up and recognize that filling my soul with the right ingredients (time, people, and opportunities, etc.) is providing me the resources I truly need to become all I really want, and all God wants for my life.
The only thing standing between my intention and my ambition is my ACTION...not my motivation.
I tend to mistake lack of motivation for deliberation, and not for what it really is: evasion. (This is another way to say - stop making excuses.)
Okay, everybody, is this starting to sound like a pep talk or what?
So, what is your ambition? What do you have to give? What self-war are you waging that you need to diffuse with gratitude? These are the questions I'm asking myself this year.
This is going to be a great year for embracing some new ideas for myself. Maybe I'll try cooking escargot or dye my hair red. Maybe I'll hit a new writing goal or introduce myself to a new friend I'm intimidated by. Maybe I'll confront a fear or forgive someone for something I don't even know I hold a grudge against right now. Maybe I have no idea why I wrote all of this and I'm super nervous about throwing it out there, but I'm believing that for some reason God used these hands of mine to type all this because one of you out there was supposed to hear it and I'm putting my trust in Him that it will find its way to you. Maybe?
Maybe that's what I have to give tonight. And maybe that's all that matters.