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Step by Step
Photo: Pavel Losevsky
I have a friend who is slowly killing himself. He sits around all day watching the television. He eats mostly junk food. He is addicted to prescription drugs. And he is grossly overweight. When I visit him we talk about his health. He would like to change, but his will power is dead. I pray for him often. He is contemplating surgery to help with his weight challenge.

One day I asked him if he exercised. He told me, “No, it’s too difficult for me. I hurt too much. Besides that, I just don’t feel like it.” I know the feeling. About four months ago I decided to begin walking 30 minutes every day for my health—not my physical health, but my mental health. Every morning when I awake, I lay in bed for a few moments contemplating whether I want to get up, do stretching exercises and go for a walk. Almost always I don’t “feel” like getting up. But something is changing.

I have been learning about the importance of exercising my will power. So much of my life has been directed by how I “feel” in the moment instead of what I “believe” is important. And when I live mostly by the whims of feeling or circumstance, I usually put aside making good choices and go for what is convenient. Like junk food, convenience isn’t always good for my mind or my body.

Wise Decisions

So, I’m working a new muscle in my body—my mind, particularly the frontal lobe of my brain that is the “headquarters” for making wise decisions. I tell myself, “I don’t feel like getting up right now and walking, but I want to get up and I like the benefits of exercise.” Almost always, my mood changes in the first 30 seconds of my walk.

The Bible says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 16:25). Just because something “seems” right, doesn’t make it right. And for me, how I feel in the moment is often a poor indicator of the best direction for my life. When I exercise my will power and choose what’s best, I’m finding this “muscle of choice” in my brain is growing stronger.

I’m still reaching out to my friend who is struggling with his health. He’s thinking about starting to go for short walks. That’s a great first step. I’m cheering him on!

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By Curtis Rittenour. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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