It was 19 days ago that I posted last on my blog. That number makes me very sad. I have not posted because I have not had anything to write about. I have so many things that I have wanted to share, yet I have not taken or made the time for it. This is not something that I am proud of or happy about, but at the same time I am sitting down today to live out my word of the year and am trying to do my best to persevere.
There are so many areas right now where I feel like I am on this horrible plateau. I am stuck. I am flat lined, not moving one direction or the other. At the end of the day, my biggest emotion seems to be frustration, utter frustration.
Webster.com defines a plateau as a period when something does not increase or advance any further. It can also be defined as a level of attainment or achievement.
This is what I am struggling with. I feel as if I am not advancing. If I am not advancing, then I must be falling away. That is a hideous and awful thought to me. It is causing me a great deal of grief lately.
Let me paint a picture for you, using the example of my weight. I have a personal goal to take better care of my body, to eat less and to lose some weight. While I have had this goal for quite some time I really got serious about it on October 17th, 2013. I made a commitment to myself that I was going to track where I was and what I was doing everyday. Good, bad, ugly – I’m going to keep track.
Now historically I have a habit of tracking at the beginning of a new venture and quickly falling off the pattern. Slipping into a state of “oh well, I’ll just start over again some other time”. Time elapses and eventually I pick back up again, but for good measure I wipe my slate clean from the last time. You know, I’m giving myself what I call “grace”.
This time I said I was going to keep tracking, even if it got bad, no matter how much I didn’t want to I was going to create some useful information to help me. Now since October 17th this is what I have come up with; a chart of my goal and my weight.
The black line is my goal. This is where I would need to be to stay on the “target” that I set for myself. The purple line is what I weighed on any given day. The blue line is a seven day average. It is my average weight for the past seven days, it kind of evens out those one off days that are really up or really down.
As you can see I started off really well. Then well, not so much. I was up a bit, then down a bit, but over all I just kind of hit a plateau.
Let me tell you, it is pretty depressing to watch the goal line continue to descend farther and farther from where I am currently. I would love to tell you that I stopped doing my workouts, and I started eating out every day at my favorite restaurants, but I haven’t. In fact if you look at the last few weeks, I’ve been better about working out and targeting my eating than I was when I started. You see I just do not track weight. There are 15 additional items that I keep track of, with an ultimate goal of 80% success rate on any given day.
I have had a lot of good days over the past month, but it does not seem to be showing. My weight is just one area that is easy to highlight in an example. Nothing seems to be noticeable at the current time. Truly, I have lot 8.5 pounds. To me that is a lot of weight lost since October 17th. Yet, it seems like a mirage, because I am the only one who notices it. Which very quickly causes me to doubt.
Day after day after day. I feel like I am working so hard. While it did feel like it was paying off for a while, it sure doesn’t feel that way right now. Right now I have just been feeling sad and frustrated. There are so many other areas of my life where I am working really hard and seem to be the only one who sees what is being done.
Do you ever have these kinds of thoughts or feelings? Do you ever wonder if the time, talent and treasures that you are pouring into something is worth it? Do you feel as if you are on this plateau?
For me I am starting to wondering why I have the word Perseverance as my word of the year for 2014. I am wishing I would have picked laughter or fun or adventure. Those seem easier. This just seems hard.
I have been praying. Oddly enough though, I have not been praying for weight loss or achievement in any of my goals. I have been praying for the renewal of my mind and of my emotions. I have been so richly blessed to have beloved friends praying for me in this area as well.
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world,
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2 NIV
Earlier I said that I feel as if I am not making any progress. This is where I am needing a good dose of mind renewal. My chart shows progress. Yes, I have not YET met my goal. Yes, I have had to revamp where I am at currently and the pace that I need to move forward with. My new chart looks a little like this
No, I did not readjust my goal. What I readjusted was the pace that I set for reaching that goal. Yes, I may have started out strong, but I am not finished yet. I may be walking through a “region of little change in this graphic representation”, which webster.com refers to as a plateau, but I am still moving forward over time.
There is a great likelihood that no one is going to come up to me today and tell me I look great, like I have lost weight. No one noticed the sweat rolling off of me while I was doing mountain climbers during my workout today. I could allow my thoughts to dwell on that. Or, I could ask God to renew my mind and bring forth transformation that He desires for my life.
While I have been wrestling my way forward through this season of plateau I have been reading and rereading my life verse (Hebrews 10:25), repeating it over and over again to myself. It caught my attention the other day that this verse falls under the heading A Call to Persevere. Well, doesn’t that just make you laugh.
“19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:19-25 NIV
Take Away Truths
- Jesus died for us. By doing this, a way was made for us to come confidently to God, right into His presence.
- We can come to the Lord with sincere hearts and full assurance.
- Our hearts and our bodies have been made clean.
- We have been give a hope that does not become weaker or change, God is faithful. He is always strong.
- We should ponder ways that we together and help each other to persevere in love and good deeds.
- We should not give up, but we should keep going fueled by encouragement of one another.
As much as I do not want to be going through this right now, I am glad that I am. It has definitely opened my eyes, my ears and my heart to pondering ways to help encourage others. If I had not experienced this, I would have a lesser ability to relate to others who are facing similar struggles.
There is something about a familiar struggle that allows the encouragement to pour forth in a much richer, deeper and life giving way.
It has also made me overwhelmingly grateful for those who continue to pour into me, who walk along side of me, who encourage me and who spur me on to amazing things. I praise God for them.
My dear and precious reader, I want you to know that while I may not understand your specific circumstances exactly, know that I am with you. I love you so much. I will never be able to put into words what an encouragement it is to be able to share with you. Know that I hope and I pray so fervently that what I share would touch your heart, even if but for a few fleeting moments.
Maybe you are facing the strain of raising a family, battling through the repetitive tasks that seem to regenerate themselves as you work on them – like unending mountains of laundry or piles of dishes or meals to prepare & clean up after.
Perhaps you face seemingly uncrossable canyons at work where the resources you have available appear to be able to get you off the cliff but not safely to the other side, which has you feeling like any moment your bridge will collapse and you will fall into the abyss.
It could be that you feel pulled in a hundred different directions at the same time, with voices all shouting to you at once so you can not make out any of them clearly which leaves you exhausted and with a splitting headache.
What ever it is, God is with you. God is for you. You are not alone in this. You are His precious, prized creation. You are very important to Him. He would not be taking you through this right now if there was not something glorious on the other side. The Lord is faithful. He is strong. He will take every single step with you, up through the mountains, down through the valleys and even across the plateaus. God is with you. God is for you.
Thank You so much for affording me the time to write this today. Thank You so much for walking with me and helping me to get to this point. Thank you for the blessed encouragement to continue on. Help me to not stop, but to persevere.
I thank You so much, Lord, for my readers. God, I pray and heartily ask that You would bless them today with endurance and encouragement. You have called them to such amazing things, but amazing feats are often the most challenging and require many small and unseen details to be tended to. I pray that You would give them joy, smiles, laughter, energy, wisdom, knowledge, sleep, refreshment, restoration, health and abundant life to take on their steps today.
Above all, please help them to feel loved. May they have confidence and assurance that they are a beautiful treasure and an incredibly precious gift.
In Jesus’ hallowed name, amen.