Lena somberly dropped her head, eyes hesitantly peering in my direction, as she tried to explain why she and her companions had not worked out that morning. Beneath the excuses, I caught a momentary picture of her desire to make healthy lifestyle choices. But, a heavy, dark, looming cloud of doubt, fed by the fear from past failures, choked out the desire with the force of a thundering mudslide in the heart of a Pacific Pineapple Express. Lena was caught in the motionless phase of mediocrity, lacking motivation to seek greatness.
As Lena’s personal trainer, I had been assisting her in developing a plan to lose the weight that, if not targeted, would inevitably lead to obesity related diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and stroke. I encouraged Lena to schedule a session with a dietitian for customized nutrition instruction. We discussed the need for sleep and an outlet for stress and the benefit of staying active throughout the day. Favoring a holistic approach to weight loss, I gently prodded Lena to consider meeting with a psychotherapist who could help her reach the root of her emotional attachment to food. Over several months, I relentlessly, yet sensitively, encouraged Lena, holding her accountable, yet fruitlessly watching her flounder.
Though Lena wanted to be thinner, healthier, and have more energy, she allowed life’s daily dilemmas and the nightmare of past traumas, small and large, to consume her thoughts, laying the foundation for her future and consistently drawing ancient mistakes to mind. She was drowning in sorrowful shame.
As I listened to Lena stumble over words, releasing herself from responsibility with weak excuses, I imagined how Jesus will feel and what He will say when I someday get to heaven and fumble and bumble to express a valid reason for mediocrity in my life on Earth.
“You see, Jesus, you know I love you and wanted to serve you, but I had to spend all that time worrying about my appearance because I was a personal trainer and people expected me to look the part. Jesus, it’s entirely accepted and normal to want to look the best you can. I canceled plans with girlfriends, neglecting relationships, because I was always so busy, you know that. I spent money frivolously because I knew time on earth was only temporary and I really needed those boots and that jacket. You understand, right? I know, I know, I probably missed opportunities to take part in your work because I was so caught up in my own life, but I did tell a few people about how wonderful you are and how you blessed me. I probably could have served the people around me more, but, but…Jesus, um…”
I can just picture it. The disappointment of wasted moments will reflect through His temperate and tender gaze.
“It could have been different, my dear child. But your desire to serve, love, and obey me was shoved aside by your self-doubts, insecurities, and selfishness.”
Lena’s drive has not yet reached overdrive. She will not successfully and consistently incorporate the components necessary for permanent weight loss and the excitement of a new, healthy lifestyle until she is able to lay aside her shame and uncertainties and alter her humdrum, conventional actions.
To be different, you must make different choices. To live a life pleasing to the Lord, you must leap out in faith, set aside past failures, and trust the Lord will make a way. A mediocre faith and focus breed a mediocre life.
Scripture for Thought:
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
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