I look out the window at a man who has been struggling with his weight, his love of food taking over and leaving him defeated most days. Today he looks happier, a little lighter. He has been sick and couldn't eat, making weight-loss that much easier. For quite a few days now, his desire for food has paled in comparison to the desire to avoid the pain that comes with eating. So the weight dropped, leaving him to feel like health might be possible. It is only by these days of inevitable consistency and motivated self-discipline, that the outcome that has been so long desired is starting to appear. His weight loss can be chalked up to a mere accident, in the face of no other choice. The ability to be self-disciplined handed on a silver platter. The platter of no other choice.
That's what it takes for me too, I think. Something has to happen that changes everything to get me to follow through as faithfully as is required of me. And even then, my will-power only lasts until I'm comfortable again. Or distracted. Or allowed the opportunity to be even the slightest bit lazy. If given the chance, I fall ever so quickly back into patterns of self-destructive behavior. Or at the very least, the absence of healthy habits.
One way I do this is with my "quiet time," as we good Christians like to call it. For a month at a time I can rise in the morning and spend some time with my God, feeding my spirit with His words and learning more about Him. And then the month passes, a new routine appears and I cave. I give in to the stress of life, the desire to sleep, or a generally distracted nature.
Sometimes I ask and ask, wanting God to give me a quick fix. A fix to a situation, or a part of me I'm tired of battling. But just as a diet plan is slow and arduous, so is faithfulness. We attempt and fail many times, making small strides and falling back. Lately I've been wondering if that's because we think in endings. The final weight goal, total freedom from addiction, a life where we live as we desire everyday without fail, or a perfect walk with God. Maybe it would be better if we stopped thinking that way. It seems too simple to say we need to start thinking in moments rather than in endings, but it may be true.
Maybe "living in the will of God" looks more like taking tiny steps with Him, thoughtfully considering what He would want in a particular moment, rather than believing there are only big choices on the road to His purposes.
It's maybe not about that one big decision, a job, a new baby, or a big move. It's maybe in the way we speak to the annoying co-worker that everyone else ignores. Or in the way we extend a hand-full of change to the homeless man holding his sign on the corner. Or it's in the way we take a deep breath, rather than lashing out at our children our spouses. Or in the moments where we stop and let another's hurt pierce our hearts, compelling us to act on their behalf. Or it's in the small ways we are called to action; to live, to feel, to hurt, to love, and to extend grace freely to the world around us.
In small moments we can stop and choose what God would want for us and His world around us. So maybe it's not about the end goal weight, but about the simple choice to choose fruit over a danish, just one morning at a time. And maybe it's about choosing to take a walk over having another glass of wine. Or it's about choosing to get up and sit at the throne of God, asking for wisdom and grace, just for today. I can do it, just for today. No need to think of whether or not I can do it tomorrow. Just for today.
Maybe as we choose the heart of God in these small moments, we live our way into the big and glorious calling for our lives.