Do your goals change from year to year? Do you have both small and large things you want to accomplish? As the more seasonal obligations and hurdles have come and gone, three overarching aspirations have continued to shape my life. They are Spiritual, Physical, and Financial Fitness.
When my kids were small, I set the expectation for myself to do one thing each day to make progress in each of these categories. I still have the same ambition today, although my methods for achieving them have drastically changed. Whether you’re younger or older, have similar goals or completely different ones, I’d like to invite you into my reflection on Spiritual, Physical and Financial Fitness, then and now.
“I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”Psalm 119:10, 11
Then: My kids attended AWANA when they were young. If you’re not familiar with it, the best I can describe it is like a Christian scout troop. They met weekly, had uniforms, and earned badges for scripture memorization and service to the church and community. With 5 kids in different levels of AWANA, I had several Bible verses to help little minds to memorize each week. My kids had different learning styles, so we made up songs, dances, hand motions, and beats to help with comprehension and memorization. I enjoy the fact that still, to this day, when a key AWANA verse comes up, we all start moving in sync. This was a time of wonderful growth and Spiritual fitness for me; a time when much of God’s Word was prominently fixed in my heart.
Now: I no longer have a built-in weekly Spiritual fitness program. I must be intentional about spending time in God’s Word. I set my own Bible reading goals and find Christian blogs, podcasts and online Bible Studies to follow during the week. All this plus church on Sundays and I still have a ton of room to grow in the arena of Spiritual Fitness. I will ultimately realize my goal when I arrive on eternity’s shore and am finally made perfect, as my Heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)
“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”1 Corinthians 9:26, 27
The motivation for this one has never really been a struggle because I yearn to get out and move. The hard part is finding the time to do it.
Then: I had a double stroller and 5 kids. It was not unusual to see me out on the trail with two kids in the stroller, one perched carefully on top, one on my shoulders or piggy-back, and another walking beside me. Sometimes we would rotate who was where. If I timed it right, I could get out to walk when one or two were in school and that helped quite a bit. When I didn’t have a car, walks to the grocery store or the park were naturally part of our days and physical fitness was not difficult to come by.
Now: I still love to walk. I didn’t have to push a stroller or carry anybody for several years, but the grandkids have brought that back into my life recently. Although it is harder on me now, I’m grateful I can still do it! I do have to purposely plan the ‘daily’ part of this goal; not because I don’t want to be consistent with physical fitness, but because I often feel pulled by the ‘urgent’ at the expense of the ‘important’. (You won’t want to miss this related post: How to Distinguish Between Urgent and Important)
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.Proverbs 14:23
Then: Financial fitness was much harder when the kids were little. I did not work outside the home, so finding ways to make or save money each day required thought. We went on recycling walks, collecting cans and bottles to exchange for cash. We took outgrown clothes and toys to consignment shops. I made items to sell at craft fairs. I clipped coupons. The kids and I did what we could so the financial burden did not fall entirely on my husband.
Now: I have a full-time job. I still try to meet this goal daily though, so even on my days off from work, I am looking for ways to earn extra money, or save it, or both. Financial fitness will be a focus until we leave it, fat or lean, to the next generation.
The three main lessons I have learned over the years I’ve spent in pursuit of Spiritual, Physical, and Financial fitness are these:
- Even baby steps are progress if they’re taken in the right direction.
- There are seasons with every endeavor. Some seasons are easier than others, but difficult seasons are not excuses to quit. The seasons will change.
- Creativity is key. If God has given a directive, He’s thought of a means by which it can be met. He can be trusted for inspiration.
Thank you for reading my reflection on Spiritual, Physical and Financial fitness as I’ve pursued it, then and now. What are the objectives you are chasing these days? Are they enduring or are they quickly attainable? Do you have tips to share about how you’re being creative or making progress?
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