We can’t deal with everything all at once. We have to deal with what is on the table now and worry about other things later. I had to deal with relationships, my addictive gambling, my debt, and my weight all at different times. Now it is something else, but that is how we are refined; one fire at a time. The easiest way to get discouraged is to think of all the things that are weighing you down. You have got to focus on one, deal with it, defeat it with discipline, and then move to the next.
I’m going to use some biblical scripture in this blog, so I urge you if you are not Christian to find the value in it for yourself. If you search your heart, you’ll find the wisdom and it just might help you with that issue you need to address.
When our garage is a mess, I open the back door and look at it and just stand there. “Where do I start?!” is my first thought. I often shut the door, turn around, and put it off. Darci says, “Start with that box right there! Just get it, and do something with it!” That is how you get things done. You can’t worry about being 250 pounds overweight; you have to worry with the first 5 pounds. You can’t worry about the marathon; you have to worry about that first mile…and that first step! You can’t worry about all the credit card debt you have, you have to worry about the 1st card in that debt snowball. Dave Ramsey says as you pay off those cards one by one, you get an excitement you didn’t have before and it causes you to want to continue! One step at a time works. It’s not necessarily going to happen quickly, but with that first step and the discipline to continue, it WILL happen.
Focus works. Imagine your discipline is like a lens to your camera. When I was starting my changes, I couldn’t focus on the weight, debt, marriage, and addictions. The most important thing in my life at the time was Darci. I didn’t want to lose her and she didn’t want to lose me, so we focused on our marriage. We went back to church and put God at the center of our lives. We decided that without God’s guidance, we were doomed to blindlessly run around and hurt each other, but if we focused on God at the center of our relationship, we would have a roadmap to a better relationship with each other. It worked. We took our discipline lens and we focused on each other. The day we cared more about each other and less about our previous family dynamics was the day the healing began. It says in the bible, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6) Our problem was that we were allowing each of our families and outsiders to influence our marriage. In effect we were not focused on each other, but on what our previous families thought. We hadn’t truly made each other first in our lives. When we did that, all those things started falling in line with what we wanted in a spouse.
Were we perfect? No way! But we started walking the walk of a good marriage. It’s not about having issues, but it is about working through those issues. We spent the first 6 months of our marriage ignoring the issues and not having the discipline to deal with them. When we put our marriage at the focus of our discipline, we began caring more for each other than what anyone else thought. For anyone for any reason to try to stand between a man and wife is wrong. If someone tries to persuade one by talking to another, they might as well be driving a wedge between them. There will be people who try to do this, and we should always be on the lookout for that. It also says in the bible, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” (1Peter5:8-9) God is warning us that the enemy prowls around looking for ways to infiltrate and plant seeds that can destroy a marriage. That enemy can work through anyone and we must simply be aware. When Darci and I get into an argument, I try to look for what is at the root of that argument. God’s will for our marriage is good, and anything that is bad has a root. If we find that root and simply ignore it, it will grow back. But if we find that root and pull it up, that weed is gone for good. More weeds will come up, but it will take the discipline of tending the yard and pulling those weeds so our marriage does not become overrun with them.
Deal with issues one at a time and you will find victory in your life. Don’t ignore the problems and allow the underbrush to ruin your land. It’s very painful to have to brush hog and clean up after years of not dealing with issues. Instead, find the one that is most threatening to you and deal with it. Then go on to the next and deal with it, too. I began dealing with these issues in 1996, and I finally dealt with my obesity in 2009. Thank God it wasn’t too late. Now I have other issues to deal with, and I will tend my yard one weed at a time!