What do you do when you don’t have success? Or worse yet, you fail?
For the last three weeks I have risen with the sun with blurry eyes, thrown on a t-shirt and shorts and driven to meet a good friend to exercise. I usually arrive at her house groggy, more often than not I’m late and sometimes don’t even have my tennis shoes on. Meanwhile, Ms. Energetic is coming out to greet me and let me know she’s been up for hours, gardening, squeezing in an extra workout or decorating a room.
For the last three weeks I have met Ms. Energetic in stifling heat (yes, even at 6:30 a.m.) to walk. We’re not walking in an air-conditioned gym on treadmills, but rather outside around town. On blistering blacktopped roads. On steamy steep hills. On broiling busy streets. Walking. Not one mile. Not two miles, but usually at least 3 miles.
For the last three weeks, at least 4 times a week, I have walked, marched, trekked, tramped and traipsed through town.
For the last three weeks, at least 4 times a week, I have sweated, perspired and excreted odor-causing water through my skin and my clothes. I don’t even bother combing my hair in the morning, because after a quarter of a mile, I know the sweat will take over and cause my hair to look as if I just stepped out of the shower. Meanwhile, Ms. Energetic gets mildly warm and may sport a slight sheen to her forehead.
For the last three weeks, at least 4 times a week, I have worked. For what? To lose weight of course! I have failed. Absolutely no weight change in 3 weeks. Well, that’s not entirely true. After 2 weeks I actually gained weight, then went back to original weight.
I am grateful to Ms. Energetic. She is best friend and worst enemy, personal trainer and therapist all rolled into one. She is not a miracle worker, however.
Beginning Monday, Ms. Energetic will not be able to be my personal trainer and therapist in the mornings. I will have to be accountable for my own exercise. Will I continue to walk every morning? Will I quit? She is not giving up on me, but I am not so certain about myself.
So I am at a fork in the road.
To the left, I see a newly paved road that is wide. Very wide. It’s lined with large shade trees and has lots of rest areas. Its name is Quit. I can easily travel on this path and give up. I mean, I tried, right?
To the right, I see a small narrow path that is overgrown with weeds, and undergrowth that I will have to cut back to even walk on it. The obstacles are numerous. Its name is Continue. I can keep walking in the morning. I could give it more time. I could try adding another dimension, such as, hmmmm, maybe eating healthier? Ugh. This is going to be hard. What did that left road look like?
Each time I think of a fork in the road, I’m reminded of one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I’ve been told that you’re always a failure if you quit. You’re never a failure until you quit. But failure is not final, and you can change course. I can choose the right road. This is what God wants for me…and you—to be a finisher, not a quitter.
So, I will take the narrow path. And I will try to rely on the One who really wants to see me…and you — succeed.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Eph. 6:10
The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. Psalm 28:7
I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only. Psalm 71:16
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. I Cor. 9:24