One of my goals for 2017 is to write 1,000 words every morning. I'm a writer. It's what I'm good at and it's what I love doing, but this year I want to take the step from amateur writer to professional. And the way I see that happening is through consistent dedication and production. Some of you may have set New Year's Resolutions, and if you did, you probably know exactly where this story is going.
January 1, I was up at 6:00AM and had 1,000 words done by 8:00AM. I was crushing it. The words were flowing and everything I wrote was simply brilliant, no typos or need for editing. I wrote a 1,000 word masterpiece that morning and I was on top of the world. I even rewarded myself by eating a big hamburger for lunch (sure, I want to eat healthier in 2017, but I can't accomplish all my goals at once, sheesh). "2017 is going to be my year," I said to myself, with the confidence of a man who doesn't know he has ketchup on both sides of his mouth. "This is going to be great..."
Turns out, to my complete bewilderment, I haven't written a word since. At least, not until this post right now. I've also eaten several more hamburgers, so...yeah. Not my best. Here's the thing though: I had a great start. I mean, I was cooking on all cylinders for one day (that mixed metaphor is on the house), so what happened? Why did my first step towards a new and improved version of myself not naturally lead to a second and a third?
I don't know the answer to that question, but as I've thought about it I've realized that this concept of not following through is somewhat of a theme in my life. I am an excellent beginner and terrible finisher. Maybe it's in my nature, maybe it's in my nurture, maybe I don't know. But what I do know is that this error in my behavior can be crippling, especially when it comes to my Christian faith.
What you should know about me, as a Christian, is that I have a ton of flaws. Some refer to these flaws as shortcomings, problems, issues, or sins (also known as flortbleminsues, which is a word I have just now made up, patent pending). Regardless of what you refer to flortbleminsues as, I have them. One Christian stereotype I hate is the idea that Christians are, or at least think they are, perfect. In fact, I hate this stereotype so much that I am working to singlehandedly disprove it by being the least perfect Christian you could ever meet. And I can say with pride (one of my many flortbleminsues) that I am currently doing so with great effectiveness.
Anyway, one of the things about flortbleminsues is that you're supposed to deal with them. This is not just true for Christians. Everyone has flortbleminsues and everyone should do what they can to get rid of them. Right? If you agree with that, then you're probably wondering how to do so. Great, so am I. For this, we can simply look no further than a famous quote referring to addiction, which says, "The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem."
I've heard this quote before, and I doubt it's new to you either, but I think I'm just now starting to realize what it really means. Acknowledging flortbleminsues is simply the first step. Addressing them is every step from the second one to the last one. The same is true with goals. Setting a goal (acknowledgement) is the first step, and following through on that goal (addressing) is every step thereafter.
And I think that's a truth I often misunderstand. Because so often in my life I think that acknowledging flortbleminsues is the same as addressing them. And it's not. In the same way, setting goals is not the same as achieving them. Yes, acknowledgement is a crucial first step, but that's all it is. A first step. And yes, first steps are important, but only if they're followed by second and third steps and so on. No one has ever set out to climb a mountain, taken one step up, stopped there, and then called themselves a mountain climber. Yet, that's exactly what I do nearly every day of my life.
I thought that by acknowledging my flortbleminsues, or by setting goals, I was taking a huge leap forward, but I wasn't. I was only taking one small baby step. And don't hear that the wrong way. One small baby step is a big deal. There's a reason parents get so excited when their kids take that first step. It's a monumental accomplishment, so I don't want to downplay the importance of the first step.
But we're kidding ourselves if we take that first step and call it a job well done. Because really the job is only just begun. We have to learn that while mountains are climbed one step at a time, it's the culmination of a lot of steps that gets us to the top. And we have to learn not to overvalue the first step in a way that distracts us from taking the second. Nothing would be worse than starting down the road to recovery and stopping after one step. Nothing is less productive than setting a goal today and doing nothing tomorrow.
So, what's the answer? How do we solve this problem. Well, I have the answer right here. You ready? Here's how we avoid stopping after the first step (this is going to blow your mind)...
Take the second step.
I know. It's brilliant. You're welcome. Please please, enough with the applause. It's groundbreaking I know, but is it too simple? I don't think so. It's one foot in front of the other, never stopping or being satisfied with the step we've just taken until we've reached the top. It's celebrating the first step solely because we've enabled ourselves to take the second step.
@@Every mountain is climbed one step at a time as long as you don't stop after one step@@. If you've got flortbleminues you're trying to deal with, start by acknowledging them but don't stop there. Take that second step and address them too. If you've got goals you want to accomplish, don't stop by just setting them. Achieve them. Today, tomorrow, and the day after.
It's easier said than done, I know, but you can do it. And you want to know how I know that? Because this post is 1,000 words. And if I can hit my goal, you can hit yours. Keep climbing.