Earlier this year I made some very profound changes.
Changes spanning across numerous areas, aspects and facets of my life.
For the sake of this post, let’s just call it My Extreme (Personal) Make-over.
Earlier in the year (and I know, to those of you who read my previous post, this might sound somewhat contradictory; but then again, only if you do not listen/read carefully enough) I finally decided to cherish ME.
To care about my physical, social and spiritual well-being
On the physical front (tag #1) it was quite straight-forward: eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly.
Not (necessarily) listing SMART goals, my overall objective was to be fit once again. Running for 20 minutes without wanting to near an early grave. Cutting down on carbs; and being able to enjoy sweets and/or deserts as occasional rewards, rather than a necessity and mandatory item on my to-eat-list.
Pretty straight-forward, right? Needless to say, the reduction of my sugar-intake was the most difficult part. I am not ashamed to admit that I am yet to master it. No one is perfect after-all.
But the regular exercise and over-all changes to my diet have proven highly effective indeed! Over the past couple of months I have held on to a very disciplined work-out regime, have lost some weight, toned my body, feel so much more alive and well, and have generally improved my physical well-being. The input (time invested) matched the output (results achieved).
On the social level (tag #2) I have had to make some drastic changes too. Understanding that MY emotional and mental well-being mattered, I decided to be more mindful of the people I spent my time with, invested my energy in. As time has long been equated to be as of much value as money; I found it a logical deduction to put the following claim forward: there was a measurable and calculable ROI with time. Time invested would either yield positive returns (call this profit) or negative returns (call this losses). As such, I decided to manage my time more efficiently.
Having now put a definite value on my personal time, I now refused to share my dreams with people too rational to see; my knowledge with people too arrogant to hear; my desires with people too selfish to share; my love with people too self-absorbed to receive.
I refused to nurture friends who could no longer swallow and digest; my truth with people too ignorant to receive.
I finally decided to cut off some friends. Time was money.
Having cleared my mind and hands of some waste, I realized something astonishing: I now had so much more time and energy to live productively. More time to devote to those who had dreams of their own they wanted to share. Right there, I was able to fan flames and spur on passions. In the midst of those hungry to learn, I found ways to give, to teach, to impart, to transform. I now had time to look around, see the broken, those in desperate need for love; those ready to receive it. Now eagerly searching for opportunities to invest in wisely, I was shown just how much there really was, how much to give, how much to do, how much to be. Right outside the zone I had felt so uncomfortable in, I was placed at the heart of many new ones I could bring comfort to.
On a spiritual level (tag #3) I was determined to commence my weekly fasts again. To listen intently to His needs. To once again pray for the nations, for peace, for the Body of Christ, for ministries; for families and friends, for change. Really, for everything and anything He would share with me, put in my heart. I was ready head.
At first that is, for all too soon I found myself struggling. I found myself becoming religious, going through the motions. Going to church and serving, yet leaving hungry. Feeling like there just had to be so much more to life, to God. I found myself wanting, needing, doubting. The past couple of weeks, I’ve found myself financially weak too. Some of the causes were discussed in my previous post; some will be discussed here.
The truth is: there is no magic to walking with God. The only one thing God ever required of man was simple obedience. There really are no short-cuts or tricks, manoeuvres or flicks you can do to circumvent this. Partial obedience is simply dis-obedience. Obedience only is obedience when it is 100% complete. No commas, semi-colons there. God is not grammatical. There are only full-stops. Obedience is what it is: obedience.
And once you step outside His lovingly places restrictions and instructions, it gets dangerous. Not because He is no longer gracious and merciful, but because you have entered the enemy’s territory and have let the enemy right into where you matter the most: your mind (soul).
And so, he plays games. He messes with your perception, your truths. He messes with your beliefs, your ideas, your truths. Yes, he really does start messing with you.
He starts inducing doubt, introducing something much more powerful than fear. On a platter of scorpions covered in gold, he shows you options: “Did God really say..” you needed to pay tithes all the time? Even when you’re on a limited allowance? Even when you’re job-searching?
“Did God really say..” you should not lie down and fantasies about getting married, walking down the aisle, meeting the one, stalking the ones who could possibly be him?
“Did God really say..” you could not compromise? Should not use your brain? Did He really create it in vain?
And so I gave room: not necessarily to doing wrong, but rather to not doing right.
God’s word was no longer a truthful fact. It had become a strong eventuality.
Call it a tag on sale.
And as it always is when things that go on sale, they loose some of their (although not intrinsic) value and thus importance. No wonder it had become too cloudy to see; too noisy to hear.
What a dangerous road to travel on!
And so I gathered my tags and once again placed different prices on them.
Some where simply more important than others; this would have to be both reflected in time allocated, as it had to be in dedication, commitment to, and sweat. Some were simply worth the greater effort, while others had to take a back-seat. All things were good, but not all (as) profitable.
The concept of delayed gratification suggests that one deny yourself of certain pleasures today, to ensure increased (more valuable and lasting) pleasures in future. It is a concept that needs to be taught more vigorously. In addition to the true value of life’s pleasures and gains. Too many of us have forgotten the original rules of the game.
With “time a-passing” common to all men, maybe it really is time to take some immediate decisions, drastic actions, change our conduct, put our houses in order; learning to place a correct value on things that actually matter, that will actually make a difference.
Today, I want to present you with a blank tag.
What is it you need to do away with or focus on more? Write them down on separate tags.
No, I mean it, write them down and give them a value.
Write them down on paper, write them on the tablets of your heart.
Ultimately, whatever it is we choose to do (or not do) will cost us something.
At the end of our days, may our investments have been profitable.