Thursday, May 12, 2005

Falling, Rising, and the Net Effect

It's been a little while since we talked about this (see the posts here and here), but I'd like to continue the conversation once in a while. A way of keeping each other (well, especially me) accountable.

How are you doing with food? Or, more broadly (for the non-gluttonous among us), How are you doing with self-indulgence and self-control, in any area in which you've struggled?

A couple of days ago Sal mentioned setbacks. Every Tuesday, we review Created to Be His Help Meet. This week, Sal wrote,

"I had promised some testimony on our progress with this material, but we have encountered some setbacks. In fact, I had considered not posting on CTBHHM this week because of my discouragement."

I've been there. No matter what aspect of following the Lord we're talking about--being a godly wife, exercising self-discipline, studying the Word--we're going to screw up at some point. We're going to fall short at some point. I wrote to Sal in her comments,

"You know what? I've had setbacks too, and I have had weeks where I didn't feel like writing about this because of those setbacks. But it's like our walk with the Lord--we don't stop or back down because we screw up (or we'd never take the second or third steps!). We get back up and keep going. Obviously you are doing this, because here you are, posting, but I want to encourage you. We CAN take these lessons to heart, and things DO change, cumulatively, over time.

Your testimony isn't a testimony because you've been perfect in every way since finding out more about being a godly wife. But how has the Lord enlightened your heart, and what changes are you seeking to make as a result? When you HAVE done well, what was the fruit? Therein is your testimony."

Again, how have YOU been doing? When there are setbacks, what is your response?

I've brought this Scripture up recently, but perhaps we cannot be reminded too often:

Prov 24:16
for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,
but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.

I wrote about food a couple of weeks ago, as I mentioned above. I have made some changes to my diet and exercise habits since those posts. I've eschewed Cokes and fries (have had a few Diet Cokes, though), cut back on sugar, scaled down my portions, eaten more vegetables, and upped my almost daily cardio from 20 minutes to 45 min to an hour. I can see and feel the difference. Granted, it's only really been a few days, but habits start somewhere.

Likewise, whether we're talking about disciplining our bodies or strengthening our marriages, the same nose-to-the-grindstone principle applies. When you fall, do you get up? Are you harder on yourself than the Lord is? (A dangerous question, because in many ways our flesh entices us to "go easy" on ourselves and give in to it.) But the Lord knows we stumble. It doesn't shock Him.

Let us look to His Word to see how to react to setbacks: rise again.