The Un-Sexy Truth About Today

persistence

She failed her driver’s license test 959 times.

With almost no formal education and a lifetime in a remote village in South Korea, passing the written test seemed like an insurmountable obstacle to commanding the road on her own. For years she caught two buses to the test site multiple times a week. Spurred on by her desire to drive her grandchildren to the zoo, her persistence was dauntless.

Cha Sa-soon received her license on her 960th attempt. At the age of 69. She became a national celebrity, starred in a car commercial, and was given a KIA Soul in recognition of her tireless resolve.

I, on the other hand.

I’ve lost the same 7 pounds 3 times now. And am working on the fourth. If my self-improvement mechanism were working properly in my life, I would now be 21 pounds down.

Alas, I am not.

I have a thing wrong with me I like to call I-am-bored-easily-and-am-driven-by-results-so-I-need-to-see-a-payoff-pronto-or-it’s-a-wrap-friends. You may know it by its technical term: Aspiration ADD.

I aspire until I tire.

I don’t think there’s a pharmaceutical for that yet. But it does have an ICD-10 code. It’s actual.

I am addicted to instant gratification, and it has spoiled me. It has ruined my sense of longevity. I have been guilty of grossly underestimating the impact of simply sticking with a thing day after day. This is playing out in me regularly.

Persistence…….well…….it feels so obsolete. Like it dresses in a passive pallor. I mean, who has time to persist? If I don’t see results, cut bait and try something different. And faster.

After all, overnight success is sexy. And “in.”

Except it’s almost mythological.

A fabrication.

[insert sigh punctuated by pensive shrug and smirk]

We won’t escape the truth that hard, not glamorous, un-sexy work over a long period of time produces impact.

That’s why I only planned to keep my New Year’s resolution for one day. Today. Today, I will exercise. If I do, I’ve achieved my goal. I win [cue the ding, ding, ding & spinning yellow lights; my instant gratification meter jerks with accomplishment]!!!!!! My goal then renews each morning, independent of what happened yesterday or what will happen tomorrow. I’m about 75 days deep, and I’ve been more consistent than I have been in years. Because a whole bunch of todays stack up to create an impressive cumulative result.

So now I only require myself to commit to do anything for one day. Today.

This protects me from death by a-long-road-ahead syndrome.

keep walking

This is changing my mindset about making better food choices, exercising, and building Tenacious Grace.

Each morning I wake up dialed in on advancing the vision of our ministry. That looks like investing in relationships, growing our influence, cranking out resources, touching base with group leaders, studying and learning and researching, updating an inventory spreadsheet, praying for God’s direction and favor. The achiever in me would love to see us with fifteen years of progress at the conclusion of our first year. We’re not there.

We’re building a ministry today. And that call will renew itself at 5:15 tomorrow morning. Independent of what happens today or will happen in the future.

We can often think our “purpose” or our “success” is a resident of the future, but I’d argue it always inhabits the present. 

This chameleon truth can wear whatever color your circumstances dictate.

Is your marriage a disaster? Commit to being a gentle, respectful wife or an attentive, considerate husband for one day. Today. Then allow that goal to renew tomorrow morning. Regardless of what happens today or what will happen in the future.

Are you chasing a dream? Rebuilding a life? Assembling a network of friends? Starting a blog? Adjusting to a new city or job? Reconnecting with God? Working towards a fitness goal? Trying to loss 50 pounds? Recovering from a divorce? Launching a non-profit? Writing a book? Parenting through a difficult stage….or decade?

You only have to win today.

You can do almost anything for one day.

Unload the pressure and the despair of the long road ahead. Feel free to beast today. Allow that to breathe rest into your bloodstream. Keep dirt under your feet and press on, fierce friend. I think I hear a treadmill calling my name….

What does winning today look like for you?

[Images: Brian Wolfe & blackyuuki]

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One Comment

  1. Lou
    LouReply
    January 27, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    I hope to win at making a big new shiny city feel familiar and like home. Also I want win at this gnashing of teeth season with Jacob. I mean just push on thru already, we all cranky cause of 4 teeth!

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