“Don’t be afraid to give up on the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller
I have been on a journey to lose weight for over 5 years now. I have tried plenty of diet and boot camp programs, but, ultimately, nothing was truly effective until recently. Stay with me. This is not an advertisement or an endorsement for anything. With some research, major lifestyle changes (specific to my needs) and help from my doctor, I have been dropping pounds left and right…literally. I am approaching a weight that I have not been in a long time. My body feels lighter. My endurance is better. My clothes are getting baggy, and I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I still have around 30lbs to my goal weight, but, I’m in a good place.
Good…not a great.
But, I noticed that I started to become somewhat complacent. I’d been cheating, just a little, but on a regular basis. It’s not because I’d craved foods which could derail my progress, but I just seemed to take a nibble here and a bite there “because I could” (or at least that’s what I told myself). I mean, I’ve been working diligently day in and day out for a long time and I can finally see the fruits of all my labor. So, I figured I could let up a bit, you know, take my sprint down to jog.
I noticed that I had not gained weight… but I didn’t lose either.
I felt GOD’s prodding in my spirit. You know, that feeling you get when God wants to speak with you about something, but you avoid listening because you don’t want to hear it. Yup. That kind of prodding. I felt GOD impressing upon me to talk with my trainer about it. Really God??? Of all people, my trainer? Of course, he was the last person I wanted to tell that my eating habits were becoming questionable. But, God is relentless. Ugh. When I finally confessed, fully expecting a tongue lashing, I got something very different. He looked in my eyes, with a seriousness I had not yet seen, and said: “You are getting comfortable with where you are. Don’t do that. Stay hungry.”
Those words reverberated through my spirit. I couldn’t help but replay that sentence over and over. It resonated with me. I realized that had become smitten with the spirit of compromise. You know, that voice in our heads that gives us permission to bend the rules a little, slack off a bit. You may recognize some familiar records that play in our minds:
“This is good enough.”
“You are all right where you are.”
“It’s not perfect, but it works.”
This spirit seems to creep up on us at the point in our journey where we realize we’ve come a long way and things are going good…but not great. You know, without a doubt, that you have the potential to achieve a higher goal, but where you are right now is functional, so, whether conscious or subconscious, you make decision to settle.
It reminds me of the story of the Tortoise and the Hare; the hare was comfortable with where he was and stopped running, before he crossed the finish line. He lost the race because, he too, indulged in the spirit of complacency and succumbed to its comforts. The tortoise, on the other hand, never quit and persevered to the end, one slow step at a time.
The spirit of compromise…
It’s the illusion that where we are right now is actually satisfying, when, really, it’s not. When we started our race, the finish line was always the goal, and nothing short of that would do. We dreamt of it, planned for it, worked hard to achieve it. We bowled over or pushed aside anything that threatened to get in our way. We were hungry for it. We wanted it and would not have been satisfied with anything less, so the idea that “good” is actually good enough is simply not true. It is an evil, crafty trick of the enemy, designed to keep us from achieving excellence and to slowly suck as back into mediocrity, or worse, failure.
Good houses, good job, good friends….no more. That’s nice and all, but why do we always settle for good, when God has greatness waiting for us? We deserve nothing less than the best. I always look at people with great careers and awesome homes and lifestyles, and think: “That could never be me. I should just be grateful for what I have.” Don’t get me wrong. I am not defining greatness as wealth or material things. Greatness, to me, means fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives and reaping the rewards from that.
I’m talking about things like achieving and sustaining weight loss and enjoying the benefits of health and fitness… Or writing the book that God has placed on your heart and living in the fullness of how it impacts the world around you. Using your talents and skills to create solutions to problems that plague your society, or even the world. Not working 8 hours a day at a well-paying job which only requires half your brain power, and even less of your talent. Not good, but great. How do we go from good to great?
Don’t give in to the seductive comforts of compromise. Push on toward your goals. Don’t stop until you are victorious. Finish your race. Sometimes, we have to give up what’s good in order to pursue what’s great. Part of staying hungry is recognizing what is actually good versus great. It’s easy to get comfortable with being good and forget that you were made to be great.
The only way that you and I will reach our full potential is when we decide to give up the good to pursue the great. It’s when we decide to persevere a little longer and a little further to see what God has in store for us. One of my favorite definitions for “perseverance” is: Never giving up, even when you fail”.
Meaning, failure can be part of the process. Faltering is part of the journey. On my journey to fitness, I faltered. Much like the rabbit, I could see the finish line and figured I “deserve” to rest. While that may be true, it’s not right. In other words, I may have deserved to rest but, if I want to reach my goal, I need to press on. I need to stay hungry. Not literally…you know what I mean. :)
I encourage you to reflect on Galatians 6:9 in your personal time.
Try asking some of these questions:
Where, in my life, am I just settling for good, when God designed me to great?
God, what is the next step You would like me to take to pursue my greatness?
(Read Jeremiah 29:11) What plans do You have for me?