"Wilt thou be made whole?" John 5:6 What a strange question to ask someone who is suffering from an affliction or an addiction. The answer is obvious. Or is it? "Take up your bed and walk." John 5:8
It is said that procrastination is the thief of time. I submit that it is much more than that, as it weakens resolve, diminishes self confidence and severely limits future achievements and success. In the scripture quoted above, there is a sick man who had been lying by a pool called Bethesda for 38 years waiting for someone to put him in the healing waters. Jesus happens upon this man and asks him: "Do you want to get well?" John 5:6
Now, I believe that we might get a little indignant at such a question. Really. Who would want to remain in a sick or debilitated condition? For a moment let's turn the spotlight on the man by the pool. Has he become satisfied with the status quo? Has making excuses replaced genuine plans to get better? Was the pity and perhaps the handouts he might have received enough to delay any attempt to try harder or to try to engage someone in helping him to do better? Or, did he simply decide that he would get serious about doing something about his condition tomorrow? Maybe he just gave up. Only Jesus knows the answer. But, we can surmise that somewhere along his journey to wellness, his desire to achieve wholeness waned. Hence, the question paraphrased; Do you still desire to be made whole? His actions did not indicate that he did. Feel familiar?
This question resonates with me and with many others and gives one pause to examine the level of desire to be made well. No, I am not paralyzed waiting around a pool. However, my level of interest and subsequent actions in obtaining optimal health is not always indicative of a strong desire to change for the better. There are a myriad of illnesses and attitudes that we fall victim to because of the wish factor. "I wish it would go away." Well, we may not put it in those terms, but our inaction certainly screams that. We neglect to address with any degree of sustainability the act of being made whole because more often than not it takes too much time and effort to be made whole. Of course, I am speaking for myself. "What are you talking about?" You might ask. Let me try to explain.
A lot of the ills that grip us, we think, can be blamed on someone else; our parents; grandparents, or just say our ancestors. Lets' take hypertension, diabetes, and obesity; for the most part, we were not born with these diseases. In light of this, we attribute our lack of success in ridding ourselves of said illnesses to genetics; it's in our DNA. Not much we can do about it. Not true. Buried under these excuses, we need to ask, is there still the desire to get well?
Speaking from my own experience, hypertension runs deep in my family. The majority of my relatives have the condition and many have passed on as a result. My doctor told me that if I followed a healthy food program and exercised regularly, I could reduce my pressure medication and eventually be medication free. This was exciting news. I went on a serious exercise and food program; lost more than sixty pounds. True to the doctor's word, my medication was drastically reduced. Not only did I feel good, I looked good. I was well on my way to being made whole (in a physical sense). Yes, on my way. You know there is a but, coming. My desire waned. Here is where I might have blamed "the enemy," but that enemy would be me. I got lax with my food program and stopped exercising regularly (too busy).
The truth is I made a choice by not choosing to continue on the path to wellness. I let myself drift to inaction and then faced the consequences. I said to myself loudly and often, "I will get back on track tomorrow." It is difficult to put a life changing plan in motion when you are not vested in it. I dropped the ball and subconsciously believed that it was impossible to beat genetics. A friend asked me why I had not stuck to my plan. She wanted to know why I had let myself gain all that weight back. You can imagine what I really wanted to say to her, but I didn't. I did say, "If I had the answer to that I would write a book." That was another glossed over excuse. The simple truth is that I wanted to eat without restrictions. Pure and simple. My inability to choose and to be committed to a life sustaining plan has resulted in the reversal of most of the gains that I had made with regard to my health. However, continuing on this road to living life abundantly, I have regrouped and have decided to reactivate my desire, quit blaming others, and to make a definitive choice and follow through. To date, I have made appointments with my doctors; ophthalmologist, internist, gynecologist, etc., etc. I am now following my food plan and exercising at least three days a week. I do desire to become well. The abundant life involves being mentally and physically fit.
1. Ask yourself the question, "Do I desire to be made whole?" Then write down, for your own viewing, the steps you have taken to make this a reality. Be honest with yourself.
2. Choose. If you find that you have not made a decision to choose living, then do so right now. "Choose this day whom you will serve." Joshua 24:15 If you read this complete verse, you will see that Joshua was not telling the people who or what they should choose; rather he was imploring them to make a decision, a conscious choice. It is crucial to make the choice that is in your best interest because not choosing will still result in consequences. Most of them negative. Choosing means that you are deciding to take some action that will require some commitment, some amount of discipline and even some sacrifices. Your level of commitment should be reflective of your desire for change.
3. Commit to your choice. Putting things off until tomorrow (procrastinating) is not always because we get a little lazy; sometimes it's because the thing we are putting off requires fortitude and hard work. It may be that you are struggling to kick a bad habit, or you might be striving for a promotion, or trying to go back to school or considering becoming more active in a ministry. Whichever it is, be certain that this is what you desire. There will be work involved. Growing up we used to say, "What is worth having is worth working for." By all means, pray about it, then take the steps that show you are willing to hold yourself accountable to take the necessary actions to bring about the changes you need and desire.
4. Get out of your lane! By lane I mean the state of mind where you are not moving. "Take up your bed and walk." John 5:8. The sick man by the pool was asked the question noted previously, and he responded in the affirmative. He still desired to be made whole. He was then told to take up his bed and walk. He was now ready to move on to the next phase in his life. You know yourself better than anyone else. If you are stagnate, to put it bluntly; stuck, switch your lane (change your thinking). Then get up, choose, commit, and follow through on the actions that substantiate your choice.
Positive and lasting change does not happen unless we are on board with it.
Here's to choosing to live!