So, yesterday was a success. I consumed healthy food at regular intervals and showed up and worked hard at the YMCA kickboxing class. (The class made me so incredibly aware of the unconditioned state of my body!)
But this morning I face a new day.
That reality has the potential to sideline me.
And that’s because yesterday was hard. It took focus and continued commitment to accept the choices I had made for the day. I was tempted to stop by 7-11 for a Slurpee on my way home yesterday, for instance. Several times, I looked at my bag of carrots and was ungrateful for them. I was sorely tempted to skip out on the kickboxing class because Kirk and I were enjoying a very real and meaningful conversation on the couch before I needed to get ready and head out for the class.
When I see how much mindfulness and energy and commitment it took for me to be faithful to those decisions yesterday, I can get sidelined when I look ahead to the future and see day after day after day, stretching out to seeming infinity, of more days just like that. More days of decisions and commitments. More days of giving up my own preferred appetite for junk food, easy fixes, comfort, and a sedentary life.
But here’s the thing about indirection.
It isn’t about will power. It isn’t about gritting our teeth and bearing it. It isn’t about muscling through. And it isn’t about mastery, either.
It’s about small choices made each day in the mindfulness of God’s greater work within us.
And so this means, first of all, that I’m not in this process alone. God is here, and he’s working new realities in me that are so much greater than the small choices I make along the way to participate with his work. (I’m so thankful he’s the one doing the bigger, harder part of the job!)
It also means that this is not about how much I can do — how hard I can work at this to make myself better. That is not the point. The point is my acknowledgment of what God wants to do. He is about the work of forming in me a greater respect and care for my embodied existence — a respect and care that I don’t currently possess.
My part is mere participation, accomplished through small choices that acknowledge my acceptance of what he is doing.
And so today, I will not seek to overwhelm myself in this process. I will not look at the string of days ahead of me. I will not look at the one lone day behind me. I will not take on the task of being perfect or strong or full of power I do not possess.
I will identify small choices I can make today that cooperate with God’s active, greater work in me.
In what way might the principle of indirection come alongside you in your own life right now?