What is it about the moment you make a commitment to yourself or to someone else, challenges rise up against it? It’s literally, as the words slip from my thoughts, “I’m going to start doing ____” or “I’m not going to ____” the universe rises up and says (very loudly I might add) PROVE IT. Prove you mean it. Prove you are capable. Prove it matters. Prove you love them. Prove you love yourself. Prove that it matters to you.

How often do we take “prove it” and totally cave?! How often do you decide to start getting up in the morning to work out and when the alarm goes off you snooze till it’s too late to fit in a workout? I mean really, the list of what we decide to do or stop doing and then the moment of truth comes and you don’t follow through, goes on and on.

Here’s one. I decided to not eat out anymore. But I just spent the last three hours grocery shopping with four rambunctious kids. Between the emergency bathroom breaks, a random need for nursing, climbing on and off the shopping cart, begging for a THOUSAND add-ons and tons of taste-testing, they’ve completely fried my will-power. As I drive into Sonic I’m cringing at my lack of commitment to a crockpot dinner this morning. I’m trying to convince myself it isn’t that bad and how impossible it will be to throw a last minute thing together at 5 pm with a cranky baby, kids surrounding me like a pack of hyenas and further exhausting my patience, and come out on the other side unscathed and still a whole person. I’m feeling guilty that I’m choosing peace of mind over our health, AGAIN. I know that sounds backward. But if I was making health AND peace of mind priorities I would have planned ahead.

OR this one. You’ve decided to no longer use credit cards. “Time to pay off debt,” you decide. “I’m going to stick to a budget!” Then the car breaks down!!!! No savings. Do you stick to your commitment and find another way? Nope. You pull out the plastic again. It’s not the use of the plastic that is up for discussion here. It’s all the things that lead you to decide to develop a new discipline of not using them and then breaking your own commitment the first time it gets hard.

Two days ago was my son’s birthday party. We had cake, pizza, and snacks. Things I’m trying not to eat. That night I told everyone I was going to throw away all the junk so it wouldn’t be available for consumption the next day. I didn’t. I didn’t throw any of it away! Instead, I had cake with my coffee the next morning… and then leftover pizza for lunch. UUUUUUUGH! In most cases, this would be something to shrug. No big deal. Just get the junk out now. right?

Nope. I made a commitment to my health. I’ve been caving like this e-verry-DAY! I have some health issues that worsen with poor food choices. I’m not just working for normal health… I need to be disciplined so I don’t wind up in bed, in tears for hours at a time. Even more so, I want to say “I’m doing” instead of “I’m trying to do.” I want to be one of those people that says they are and then is… without question.

There’s a podcast I listen to on occasion. This particular episode the speaker was talking about disciplines and creating habits that are routine. She said that studies have shown our brains burn as many calories deciding what to have for dinner as it does deciding what house to buy. Some of the most successful people create routines, give themselves uniforms, a set breakfast etc so that they don’t have to think about the little things every day. They grab a shirt and a pair of pants. They throw fruit, milk and protein mix in a blender. They have dinner for the week decided ahead of time. (I’m getting to my point). This is all to preserve energy for the creative stuff. So as she’s talking about this she said she puts her workout shoes by the bed. She gets up and puts them on because she’s going to the gym that morning. It’s her morning uniform to be dressed for the gym. Then she said “who said you have to feel like working out? You don’t have to FEEL like it. You do it because it’s good for you.”

Man ‘O Man has that ever stuck with me. Who said you have to FEEL like it!?!?!?!? So often now as I make a commitment to myself or someone else and I get to a point late in the day where I’ve wrangled four kids all day and my brain is tired and I hear the thoughts about to escape my lips as actual words “I don’t feel like it…” I cringe. I wince as the opportunity to “prove it” is about to be lost.

I’m not here to debate the actual cause of mayhem finding it’s way into each day. But it does. It pushes it’s grubby hands in to steal what we’ve gained. I’m here to exhort you to stop saying “I don’t feel like it” and instead PROVE IT. Only make the commitments you intend to keep. Make them doable. Simply for the sake of disciple. Do it every day. Do it cause it matters if you’re a person who keeps their word. Do it because it forms your character and self-image. Do it because your commitments to yourself matter more than your commitments to all of the other people that you strive to not let down. There’s a reason why we have to put the mask on first when a plane is about to go down. Because if you put it on everyone else around you first, then you may not be conscious to do it for yourself.

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