So I used to joke with my wife that if she ever grew fat and failed to lose the weight I would find myself a new with “few”. There is the song by Marshall Munhumumwe Rudo Imoto, it reminds women that their husbands can leave no matter how confident they are if they allow themselves to lose their appeal. So when I was the one with a bulging waist, she had a reason to make fun of me. She challenged me and as a man I had to square up to the challenge. After all I was not comfortable with my gaining weight and I did not want to harbor any ideas of some “hunk” taking over.
I got my gear ready, I took up my wife’s challenge and I planned how I would be taking my morning jogs. It was to be the ending of 2008 with a bang, at least the last two days of the year. I was going to get back in shape and pretty fast, at least that I thought, it is always easier said than done.
At times the goals you want to achieve seem bigger than you; the trick is to connect to a higher power than you. In everything that you do there is always a higher power you can call on for strength, mine is Jesus Christ.
D-day finally came; I had set my alarm to wake up at 0515hrs. I was not up to it as I was getting used to waking up around 0700hrs, I had to drag myself up. Sleep is a comfort zone that is difficult to break out of. The beauty of sleep is also its let down to many launches, but I am glad I did get up.
Not only when it comes to jogging but life in general. You can have all the plans laid out, the preparations in place but if you do not get up and do something your snickers will remain there looking as good as new, your jogging pants clean always on the shelf and that big towel will have all its threads in place. All these things will remain in shape but you will be way out of shape. Your plans will remain perfect but you will be running out of time. This is called Failure to Launch; it is one of the worst kind of the obstacles we face.
My experiences were painting a bigger picture in front of me; this led me to share with you. In life failure to launch is very common and many bright ideas are lost due to that. We come up with great ideas but to get into the act of achieving is an uphill climb due to the greatest of all let downs, FEAR. This fear is designed by our very own imaginative minds.
I thought the launching part was the hardest, was I wrong? After day one I had a longer list of excuses. I felt like my bad knee was acting up, the timing was off and anyway it was not going to work. In some way I would be looking at my potbelly and seeing no difference, “It had only been one day!”
Such is life, after succeeding in launching your goal-your project, looks futile shortly after, and there will be all these discrepancies to cloud your focus. The excuses I am talking about are the ones that come from within you; you are your worst enemy when it comes to this stage because you will be your biggest discouragement through FEAR.
Funny enough my wife is the one who put me up to this but there are mornings when she would say, “take a rest today and you will run tomorrow”, she will be tempting me to stay in bed. Some friends and family had a whole lot to say when they heard about my jogging, mostly negative, “jogging, it doesn’t work!” or “so and so tried it and gained weight” and “give it up it is a waste of time and energy!” I would get so much discouragement you would think I was committing a crime. What kept me from quitting was my belief and my need to get in shape.
External influence is another factor in life that hinders achievement of goals. Some look like genuine reasons not to, others are just too tempting to let go. A fact of life is that most critics have never tried anything. They make themselves experts in a field they have never set foot on. You should learn to understand people who come under the guises of help. I would rather listen to what works with regards to keeping fit from someone with a six pack tummy than another potbellied fellow like me. It might sound rude but they are being rude in the first place. Life needs one to hold on to a cause, to take it all the way and that is through COMMITMENT! One should commit himself to a certain principled life and not allow hinderances or obstacles to take you away from your goal. I told myself I will jog and I will jog differently each time until I find the way that works. One great scientist, Thomas Edison (invented the bulb) failed so many times but always embarked on the project to get it right by applying something different. He did not say I failed to make a bulb so I will try making a lighter. We always have an opportunity to learn from our mistakes; the good thing about making mistakes is that YOU ARE TRYING SOMETHING! Do not be afraid to make mistakes.
I like the way I start my jog, from my place I go downhill until I get to the point of making the U-turn. It is so easy to go downhill it is smooth, quick and comfortable. If you were going downhill and make a U-turn to go back, well guess what it will not be downhill again, it is uphill (in case you had not figured that out!)
Life has presented me with such periods as well, everything going on smoothly and at such times we tend to be carefree like it will always be like that. It is wise to make the most of such time, if finances are on the increase it is the right time to save as much and use your money wisely to complete your goals. Make hay whilst the sun shines, save for a rainy day because life has seasons, if it is time to get it easy, there will be a time to get it tough.
When I was coming back uphill it was very tiring, I felt like quitting. You feel your strength disappearing and your legs barely carrying your weight, like they are giving up. In pursuit of your goal definitely expect obstacles like an uphill course in my morning jog. Sometimes the course is made easier by the decisions that you made when you were going downhill. It is made easier by the “hay you made” or that lot you saved for a rainy day, like the uphill climb.
Believe me when you are fatigued all you want is to get it over with, and if you are still a long way from your destination you will want to quit. There will be that voice in your head saying, “You can’t do this give it up, you will faint and what good is that?” I tell you that voice is so convincing I have listened to it in my jogging and I found myself stopping and walking. It makes you believe what you have already done is enough; after all you can jog some more tomorrow. At times during the jog when I was lost in my thoughts, I noticed the negative my thoughts were consequently, the slower I jogged, the positive….. These thoughts could be of any aspect in life, if it was sulking that my wife was too tired the previous night (negative) or looking forward to the coming night (positive) the difference was outstanding. In life remain with a positive attitude. You can channel the negative energy created, (anger) into your goal and in that way you will run faster turning negative into positive, just like with the discouragement turn it to your advantage and let it be encouragement.
No matter how you approach life, quitting should never be an option. It might seem as if you are swamped, that there is no getting out of it, you can. The devil wants us to fail for him to succeed. The devil delights in our failure therefore he creates distractions to get us off our path, off our goal. It has been said and I believe it, obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goal. The devil makes you believe the power of his distraction and you take your eyes of your goal. It is when you feel fatigued that you need to lock your eyes on the goal, stay fixed, focused on achieving and your will power will pull you through. I read somewhere that the acronym SCUD stands for Satan Continuously Uses Distractions. It is not that the goal cannot be achieved; it is that there are distractions on the way that force us to take our eyes of our goal. We need to stay on FOCUS. I have concluded that the acronym FOCUS stands for Firm On Challenge Until Solved. So no matter what obstacles, hinderances or distractions we need to stay firm on course of achieving our goal.
During this time of fatigue, this time of giving up in my jog, I would have this inner force and voice which would encourage me. At times I would have to call on it by staying positive. Achieving or winning is an attitude. We need an attitude of winning and that comes with staying positive.
To tap into that inner force of encouragement I had to talk myself into believing and thus stay positive. Whilst getting into the positive attitude I was reminded of a story from primary school about a little train going uphill. When the going was tough it would be saying “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!” During my jogging days I would talk myself into believing I can. Since there was the Barack Obama craze, I would chant according to my panting “Yes I can!” somehow the spring in my pace that I thought I had lost would just bounce back!
Yes I can, is an affirmation and affirmations are positive confessions to yourself, and they allow that inner force to be activated in your life. This helps create a positive atmosphere around you, it rejuvenates your mind to be more creative as your whole body system conforms to the spoken words of being able. It creates an attitude of winning. In my belief the Bible is full of affirmations which if we meditate upon them, take them to be our very own and confess aloud in our circumstances, they allow God’s power to be activated in our lives through the Spoken Word. A few scriptures to illustrate my point include Psalms 118:13-14, Romans 8:31 and Jeremiah 29:11.
When you reach to the strength of the Lord, quoting verses and making them affirmations, you need to hold God to His promise. I would quote Isaiah 40:31 “Those who wait upon the Lord will find their strength renewed……they will run and not grow weary…” making an affirmation of this verse in its literal sense and holding my Lord to His promise I should run and not grow weary, if I am one of those who wait upon the Lord. When you are one of those who wait upon the Lord you will have renewed strength, in your time of climbing uphill you will get strength to soldier on with your goal. You will run and not grow weary, you will move towards achieving with such determination, dedication and a fast pace but you will not be exhausted or worked out then, you achieve and you are so successful that you will soar like an eagle in your victory, in your success.
During my first days of jogging there were times when I would end up walking because I would be very enervated, but I never allowed myself to stop moving. I would have run faster going downhill to the extent of losing the drive to climb up. I learnt to conserve some energy for the ascend back. In life we can slow down but we should not stop or drop out. We take this time to access our progress and adjust and make corrections. It is a temporary slowdown to rejuvenate ourselves and attack the goal with a renewed set of mind, that attitude of winning. We can have brownouts but we should not burnout!
I am fond of finishing my jog with a sprint, like the last push to victory which is an epitome of most long distance runners who often finish off with a sprint to victory. Even our achievement towards goals we should have that final dash to victory. The dash to victory should be with caution because it is said the darkest hour is before dawn. At this time the dying devil will be giving out his last kicks. I say dying because he wants us to fail, our failure is his success and our success is his failure, so on the eve of our success he will be out to try and throw a knockout punch, but if we pick up a gear in our attitude of winning and give it a last dash to success he will not stand a chance.
In Philippians 3:14, Paul says “So I run straight towards the goal in order to win the prize which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above”. My experience whilst taking my morning jog led me to realize a lot in life and its relation to any aspect of it. While jogging I saw my life unfold, and the way I jogged had the same effect to my life in general. Though jogging was just an aspect it became a true representative of the way I wanted to tackle my life. So I called it my jog of life. Like any race, we are in it to win and Paul clearly shows that he ran his race to win. He knew the prize as we all should know the prize in the race we are in. Paul’s prize was eternal life. What we should remember is that in this race it is not just time that determines whether we win or not, it is what we successfully do with that time! The race of life is not computed by its duration but its donation.