“The enemy wants us to think giving into weakness isn’t a big deal.”
I read this in a Facebook devotional the other day—at least that is my version of what it said. Because of the little people that live under our roof, I haven’t slept in about four years—so my memory isn’t what it used to be.
Regardless, I haven’t been able to get the concept out of my head. The more hours that pass, the more I see this truth playing out in my life. We have an enemy who wants to blind us from the cost of our choices.
Until it’s too late.
Until our kids are grown up and we ache over the moments we missed. Until an occasional glass of wine becomes a daily need. Until we waste another year of our life not pursing that nagging feeling we are to create something, get involved in that thing, reach out to that person or take one step toward that goal—all because of Netflix. Another year of shame and guilt—and 20lbs of weight gained, or never lost.
Giving into weakness seems insignificant—just this one time. A few extra bites here and there, a few full-out binges in secret, leads to a few extra pounds, leading to clothes that don’t fit right, leading to shame, leading to loss of confidence, leading to feeling uncomfortable in your own skin. So you’d rather hide and stay at home than engage the world. And somehow those few insignificant choices have added up to exempt you from fulfilling your purpose.
Because that’s exactly what sin does.
And that’s the problem. We don’t see it as sin. Weakness, maybe. But not black and dirty sin. The moment-to-moment choices are gray. We don’t see the real cost today.
Our choices appears trivial, insignificant, hidden. A moment of giving into weakness…
because it’s been a hard day.
because I deserve it.
because my boss treated me horribly.
because I’m celebrating.
because the kids were hellions.
because I’m lonely.
because I survived another day.
But our secret sins will come to light—slowly, surely, choking out light and life, drive and passion, purpose and calling.
Every choice we make matters because it shapes who we are for eternity. Each choice moves us one step closer toward life or death.
Y’all, life hurts. More often than happy and Instagramy, it’s hard. But our hard moments are usually hidden. They’re faced alone. And in the quiet, hard moments, the enemy tempts us with our weakness. Social media, alcohol, pornography, food, Netflix, fill in your blank. In those moments, choosing the hard thing is even harder.
I don’t do well with words like “never,” “always,” “eliminate,” “remove,” “limit,” etc. Maybe it’s the rebel in me. I don’t like when people tell me what to do, but if I call it a “rhythm”, I feel the freedom to be human, mess up, and make it my own.
So I want to talk about the four simple life rhythms that help me choose the hard and good things more often. Because I believe we all operate better in healthy life rhythms.
- Technology rhythms—create headspace by setting rhythms to your cell phone/TV/device use. I started turning my phone completely off from 8pm–8am. I’m sleeping–and living–much better.
- Food/Drink rhythms—creating rhythms of feasting, and yes, fasting, have helped me reset my relationship with food.
- Movement rhythms—our bodies are exquisitely designed to move by a crazy intelligent Biomechanist Creator. They don’t do well when they stay still for long. Just getting out for a 20-30 minute walk in the morning has brought life to me again.
- Spiritual rhythms—I believe all life-giving rhythms create head and heart space for healthy spiritual rhythms. The reverse is also true—all life-giving rhythms are created by healthy spiritual rhythms. The two go in hand-in-hand. I try to spend time with God each day as I can make it, either first thing in the morning, or during kids’ naptime.
I have no stats to back this up, but based on my short life experience, I’ve come to believe that 9 times out of 10, doing what’s hard, is doing what brings life. In a culture that prides itself on pushing the easy button, it will also be making the uncommon choice.
My wise friend Jill calls it, “choosing to operate in the opposite spirit.” (Actually, I think Mark Batterson said it, but since I never heard him, I give her the credit.)
So today, as you think about the rhythms you need to create in your life, face the moments of weakness by operating in the opposite spirit—because it’s all a big deal.