Yesterday, the most amazing and incredible thing happened to me! I actually traveled back in time! I didn’t have a souped up DeLorean, or a “bigger on the inside” Tardis. I didn’t even have to slingshot around the sun (much respect to whoever gets that movie reference). Nope, it was a lot simpler than all those things, but it happened. I traveled two months into the past, and lived to tell about it.
For those that may not know the person behind these words, sometime in late June I embarked on a journey to lose some weight. I was heavy, my knees hurt, and I was sorely out of shape. For whatever reason, late June was the final straw. I got in the gym, watched what I ate and slowly but surely, the pounds began to come off. It hasn’t been easy, and frankly, it still isn’t. The fact that it’s not, is probably what lead to my trip back in time.
Since I’ve started this journey, I won’t say it was perfect, but I can say almost every day involved some restraint on my behalf, or a decision to do something to help the process. If I wasn’t particularly careful about what I ate, I probably made sure I got on a treadmill. If I took a day to rest my body, I probably watched what I ate. One way or another, I did something to “help the cause.”
But not yesterday…
Sure, I started out with the best of motivations. Like nearly every other morning, I put on my gym clothes, dropped my son off to basketball, and had every intention of getting my workout on before heading off to work. But I didn’t make it. That’s fine because of my fall back plan. I’ll just watch what I eat. And I did… I watch it all go down my throat and into my belly. This was who I was the day before I started to live, though imperfectly, a more health conscious life. Just like that, there I was, back in time, June 2016. (Cue Huey Lewis and the News!)
I hated everything about that day. I don’t particularly like to work out, but I missed it. I knew I could make better food choices, but I didn’t. I felt cranky and depressed. I wanted to go completely off the rails. Whopper in one, a Wendy’s Double in other, but I didn’t. Instead, I rode the day out, and started again today. Today, is definitely a better day. Got on my treadmill this morning, had more sensible meals, and I’m back on track. Days like that used to frustrate me a whole lot more than they do now. it’s not because I know, “I’m a overcomer”, “a conqueror”, “a captain of my own destiny”. They don’t frustrate me because I know these days, when I go “back in time”, are normal. They’re annoying, but normal.
We all do it. We all have days where we go “back in time.” We have moments where we revisit bad habits, bad thoughts and bad words. We are not perfect people. I guarantee you that no matter how much someone changes, reinvents themselves, or does things differently, at some point, even if it’s for the briefest of moments, someone will enter that time warp. We’re gonna have a day that is more like the past then the future. All the planning, programs and steps won’t protect you from it. But that’s ok.
Because, every morning brings us new mercies. Every dawn is a new beginning. That healthy start I had in late June, actually started in late February. I can’t tell you what changed in the months in-between where I would constantly start and stall, I can only tell you that every “next day”, was new. The slate was clean and the options were open to me. I won’t tell I was completely unburdened by the previous days poor choices. I can only say that I knew it was still chance to make better choices than the day before. This is my life as I try to make these healthy choices. In the midst of that life, I’m sure my mind’s “flux capacitor” will kick plenty more times, but at least I know it’s a round trip.
This is my life in living healthier, and this is my spiritual life as well. My faith in Christ guides me to make better choices, but it unburdens me from heavy, unrelenting guilt when I fall short. I still have days, where I “revisit the past”. I still sin and screw up, sometimes pretty badly. But mercies come with the dawn. Forgiveness is mine because of a cross that took even my most recent sins away. I wake remembering my faults, but I’m the only one. That’s because scripture reminds us those sins and faults are tossed into a sea of forgetfulness, and are as far from me as the east is from the west.
Like after our unhealthy time trip, it’s sometimes hard to imagine things can get better again. It feels like we undid all the hard work we put into it. This is where the analogy splits. We put our work into watching what we eat, exercise, and overall better living. In Christ, the hard work is all done. The biggest struggle and “work” is to grasp that things don’t have to get “better” again. Christ has already given us what’s best. His robe of righteousness that covers us in pristine sinlessness, despite our continued failings. While a bad day for the health conscious means we have work to lose the few pounds we put back on. A bad day for us in Christ means we wake the next day knowing it’s not counted against us. We don’t have to work to scrub clean the mess.
Christ has done it at the cross, forever and always.