Getting back on track



Let’s consider this my Aztec New Year resolution…

By the time you’re reading this, or at least by the time you should be reading this, I’ll be lapping it up in the pool at the YMCA. At least that’s the plan.

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go. I hate to wake me up to say goodbye…

No, wait.

Here’s the deal. I started out the year well, at least with good intentions. For a while I was pretty consistently hitting the gym in the mornings.

Then came the winter of my discontent. A couple of mornings of snow, combined with rehearsals that got me home after 10 p.m. got me out of the habit.

I haven’t been a total slouch. I’ve been reading and writing pretty consistently. I haven’t even had to cheat on my Bible reading plan. I will admit that I did speed read parts of Leviticus and Numbers. But I did read them. I even wrote down some questions that I need to look into.

I’m ahead on my Goodreads reading challenge for the year.

But I’ve slacked off on the exercise. I’ve not been to the YMCA in several weeks. I have walked at lunch when weather permitted. Those times have also been rare.

I must also admit that I’ve fallen off the food and beverage wagon.

Today, I’m hoping to change all of that. As I write this my gym bag, my breakfast and my lunch are packed. I’m getting ready to read for a bit and head to bed. I am well aware that a post-midnight bedtime and a 5:00 a.m. wake-up call are not compatible.

But life’s about starting over. I’m not a failure because I’ve missed some days at the Y or because I let grains and sugar creep back into my diet. Sure, I’ve lost some ground, but I also recognize the difference in how I feel if I keep a check on those.

That’s what life teaches us. When something doesn’t work, we shouldn’t just quit and give up. We learn what worked and what didn’t and resolve to try it differently, or correct our mistakes, the next time.

Thomas Edison didn’t invent the commercial light bulb on the first try. He went through 10,000 prototypes before he got it right.

Edison said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”

So, I haven’t failed in reaching my fitness goal. I’m just finding what does and doesn’t work.

Sitting on my backside eating Krispy Kremes for breakfast does not work. And no, I’ve not even been to the new Krispy Kreme on Midlothian. That’s just an example.

I haven’t failed at writing the next great American novel. I just haven’t gotten it right yet. Mine might be the next one after the next one. Or something like that.

Legend has it that Winston Churchill once gave a speech and said, “Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.”

What Churchill actually said in a 1941 speech to the boys at Harrow School was “Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” [You can read the full speech in “The Complete Speeches of Winston S. Churchill,” edited by Robert Rhodes James (NY:Bowker and London:Chelsea House 1974)]

The principles behind the Edison and Churchill quotes are clear. If you fail, and you likely will, get up and try again. Don’t quit.

As a believer, there’s a spiritual principle here as well.

I hate the bumper stickers that say “God isn’t finished with me yet” or “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” While they’re true in principle, to me they read like “I’m a Christian, so I’m free to be a jackass.”


But that’s why there is grace. One of my favorite hymns is based on this scripture.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
~ Lamentations 3:22-23

The hymn, of course, is “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

It’s the new mercies part that’s key. That’s not a license to do whatever we want because there’s always forgiveness. Rather, it’s a reminder that when we do stumble, when we do screw up, there’s grace.

It’s just that simple. If you fail, start over. Try again.

And, don’t be a jackass.


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