I like to be challenged and find new ways to push myself to improve and see what I am capable of mentally or physically. Whether it is a new distance to run, a new time to beat, or an intellectual conversation to increase knowledge, I believe it is critical that we do not become stagnant or comfortable in our lives.
It appears that many of us strive for comfort or get lulled into it. This complacency is dangerous and while it may not be the goal of everyone, it appears to be the consequences of many.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
A great example that I must always be on guard with is television. Like the inability to turn away from a car wreck, many individuals end up spending hours watching a show they will acknowledge is awful but feel like they need to see what is going to happen next. Others join Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family but then become consumed with games and postings that are not the best use of their time.
Physical activity is another place where we can see this scenario. While individuals will have played a sport or been active when they were younger, they tend to become sedentary, overweight “fans” for their local team. While playing a sport at the same level might not be possible as it was 20 years ago, sitting in front of the TV or computer for hours calculating their fantasy teams chances that week is not the healthiest choice either.
I feel blessed that I am able and motivated to get out for a run on a regular basis rather than stand on the side lines watching life go by. However, I also believe that I must make an effort to challenge myself spiritually as well so that I don’t become complacent here either.
The most recent challenge to my spiritual growth occurred when I read a book that was recommended to me by a good friend from church. “Not a Fan” by Kyle Idleman challenges you to consider what it means to be a true follower of Jesus versus just a fan. The author does a great job depicting how many of us call ourselves Christians but yet we often don’t truly grasp what it involves to be a follower.
It definitely challenged me and I enjoyed the spiritual stimulation as well as evaluating the fitness of my faith. However this is not meant to be a book review as I know there are many blogs and others sites that critique the work of others. Rather it is a challenge for all of us to evaluate whether we have become too complacent with our situation at work, how much we value our families, or our dedication to our faith.
As we approach the New Year and the resolutions that accompany this holiday, I hope many more of us will commit to more than a goal that involves weight or something that has a definitive conclusion. While goals are important and help us track our progress, we must make deeper changes in how we live, follow our faith, and care for our bodies that will carry us past that arbitrary finish line that we have created.
So are you going to challenge yourself in the New Year or sit back and be a fan?