this may come as a surprise to some of you, but i've been in quite the introverted mood lately; a - something deep is happening inside of me - isolated mood. i got off social media for a while, locked myself in my room to pray a little, journal some, read a lot, and think way too much. but it's been good. and now, though i feel like i'm still processing, i feel like i'm through the thick of it and am about to embark on a new season in my life.
while some make resolutions each year, i choose a word that i'm going to focus on. last year, i chose ameliorate [to make something unsatisfactory better; to become better], and this year, i chose discipline [to train yourself to do something by controlling your behavior].
you see, i am quite the emotional being, and ashamedly, have let my emotions control the decisions i've made more often than i'd like to admit. i've quit jobs on impulse [though leaving my most recent one was in my best interest], stopped working out because i didn't 'feel like it', put a book or two back on my shelf before i could finish it, and the list goes on. i'm a good starter - a really great and passionate starter - but i suck at finishing, because, well, my emotions have been known to get the best of me. but this year? this year will be different, and though we are only 12 days into it, it already has been.
i've already read more than i did last year in total, made my bed every single morning before leaving for work at 5:30a.m., packed healthy snacks for the day so that i'm not tempted by the garbage that is way too accessible at work [small things count, too], and am proud to say that i have reached all of my financial and fitness goals to date. in fact, just yesterday i hit a milestone on the treadmill, a milestone that wouldn't have been possible if i let myself get distracted while running on it a few weeks a go.
it wasn't the first time someone tried to get my attention while working out, in fact, it's a common occurrence when i'm exercising in the gym in my condo. "do you know how to work this?" "do you come here often?" [okay, so i threw that one in there, but still]. normally i'd take my head set off and help where needed, but that particular day was different. that day, i felt compelled to stay on track.
i was on minute seven of running, which was, at the time, four minutes and one second away from beating my personal best, when a family of four walked in and surrounded my treadmill. like actually surrounded it. i look in the mirror and see them all staring at me and trying to get my attention. "stay focussed, paula", i thought to myself over and over as i was nearing my record. but they just kept staring, and staring. all four of them. i assessed the situation - were they in trouble? was there a fire? - but concluded that they, like everyone else who thinks i work there, probably wanted to know how to work a bless-ed machine. [must be my rock solid calves and amazing physique]. i battled feeling rude, but knew from experience that if i took my eyes off of the prize, i'd end up becoming frustrated, lose momentum, and miss out on what i set out to do in the first place, and i couldn't let that happen that day.
at the ten minute mark, the mom jumped on the treadmill directly beside me [even though there were six other treadmills to choose from] and continued staring at me, along with her two adorable children and her not so adorable husband. [sorry, lady, you can't win 'em all].
"stay focussed, paula", i said to myself.
a few minutes later, they left. and a few minutes after that, i beat my freakin record, only to crush it again last night. yeah i did. [enter fist pump here].
naturally, this got me thinking. life is like [sorry, forrest gump] my journey on the treadmill that day. here i was running my race, focussed on where i wanted to go, in the zone, and boom - out of nowhere came this purposeless distraction, forcing me to make a choice; i could have 1) let myself be distracted and steer off track, or 2) kept focussed.
aren't those our options when it comes to the distractions we face day to day? sure, some, unlike the above distraction, may not seem as obvious, or may be, dare i say destructive? [like a sin we're struggling with, or a toxic relationship we have in our life with a person we have invited run on 'the treadmill beside us'], but, really, if you think about it, a distraction is a distraction; no matter what the source, it sets out to achieve the same outcome: to throw us off course...
the choice is ours if we let it.
"therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us" [Hebrews 12:1]