Why do we let our circumstances keep us from doing what we love to do? More importantly, the things we know we’re supposed to do?
In the summer of 2014, at the age of thirty-two, I was diagnosed with spreading malignant melanoma. The diagnosis and surgical procedure to remove the cancer stopped me in my tracks. As an avid triathlete, I was in the best shape of my life, but due to internal stitches and twenty-seven staples, I had to stop all physical activity for a few months.
When I returned, I was devastated to learn that the majority of my endurance and conditioning, that I worked so hard to build, had been lost. For the next three years, I threw myself a pity party and refused to get back into rhythm. As a result, physical activity and my commitment to my own health and wellness began to fade.
In the years that followed, I tried everything from CrossFit to F3 to my own sheer willpower, but nothing worked.
This weekend, a good friend asked me, “You were a great swimmer, do you ever swim anymore?”
My answer was, no. Although I love to swim and had developed a knack for it, for three years I’ve refused to get back in the pool. As I thought about why, I didn’t have any good reasons. I only had a list of excuses and circumstances to blame.
But this morning, I got back in the pool.
What’s Your Pool?
Too often, the circumstances of life drown out our “Why” and we let countless uncontrollable situations dictate our response. Instead of living the life we want to live, instead of living a life of meaning and purpose, we simply live buried beneath our excuses and. Inadvertently, we develop damaging habits that we’re not even aware of—we become captive to bad thinking, worrisome of the opinions of others, and enslaved to our own subtle fears.
Here’s a question: What’s your pool?
There’s a gift or a talent or a purpose that burns in your heart. Maybe it’s something you’re good at, or maybe it’s something you enjoy. For some, it’s writing a book or creating something amazing. For others, it’s committing to a healthy lifestyle. And still for some, it’s creating the spiritual desire to spend time with God, reading His word, praying, and journaling.
What’s the thing you’re not doing that you know deep down you need to do? Where have you allowed the opinions of others and the negative self talk hold you back?
That’s your pool. Now, it’s time to get back in.
The Gift of Today
It may have been three years since you’ve been in the pool, and you might not get into the pool tomorrow, but today, you get to make a decision. Stop living in the regrets and pain of the past, stop wallowing in the excuses of the present, and stop worrying about the fears of tomorrow. Simply embrace today.
There is, and only ever will be, one today. So exhaust it for something greater than yourself—exhaust today for the purposes of God. Own it. Take responsibility for your life and get back in the pool.
Today, you can choose to:
→ Live uncompromisingly by faith
→ Treat people like the gift they are
→ Love your family well
→ Speak life and goodness to yourself and others
→ Work diligently at what God has called you to do
→ Build others up
→ Make that phone call you’ve been procrastinating
→ Create something amazing
→ Be expectant
God has created you with an incredible and unique set of gifts, talents, and abilities that He wants you to use. But you have to make the decision to dive back in. The first step in any journey of faith is the willingness to go. Then, go.
In the end, are you going to live beyond your excuses, or simply live beneath them?
Living Beyond Your Circumstances
At this point, most people say, “Ok. That all sounds good. But, how?”
The crazy cool thing is that God is the How. Like for real. He’s already laid out this dream for you and He wants you to step into it. But the truth is, there’s so much junk in our way that it becomes difficult to see clearly and even more difficult to understand what God wants us to hear.
To help folks step into this idea—to get back in the pool—we’ve created The 21-Day Spiritual Cleanse. The Spiritual Cleanse is a guided devotional to help you break free and step into your “Why”. Written by Zondervan author and YouPrint cofounder, Kevin Adams, the Cleanse takes an organic approach and creating a fresh perspective on who God is and who you are to Him.
As Kevin writes, “Think of the Cleanse as jumping into a swimming pool on a hot day, where the only plan is to hop in, swim to your heart’s content, and simply enjoy the benefit of soaking in His presence.”
If you’re looking for something to kickstart your “Why” and you need a bit of encouragement to breakthrough the excuses and rise above the weight of circumstance, take The Spiritual Cleanse.