I find myself grumbling as I ride my exercise bike.  Exercise and healthy eating present several problems for me.

1) I want to see results for my labor.  Not three years from now.  Immediately.

2) If there are not immediate results (as with child rearing) I want to at least know that my labor NOW makes my life easier LATER.  This is not necessarily the case with weight loss.  For all my work I do now, I have to continue to maintain it later.

3) I just plain don’t wanna do it.  There are a million things I could do with that 30-60 minutes of exercise and at least 1,000 things I could enjoy eating more than, say, lettuce.  Ick.

And it is at this point in my mental ranting that I realize how closely this parallels my spiritual life.

Christianity is not a “get saved, CHECK! Great!  Now, what else should I do with my life” kind of lifestyle.

Instead it’s: Love Jesus.  Do what’s right.  Follow ALL His commands.  Read his word.  Cultivate relationship.  Continue to grow in God.

Now you’d think that I would be mollified by the fact that the creator of the universe is doing most -if not all- of the work there.  How hard could it be?

For me? Hard.  I don’t want to pray for peace over and over.  I want an iphone app that gives me peace all the time whenever I push the right button.  I don’t want to struggle with temptation EVER.  I want a GPS type device that steers me around them so I don’t have to deal with it.  I don’t want to have to build relationships with other real, human people Christian or otherwise because those relationships are messy and complicated by the fact that we’re all human.  Darn it, anyway!  Why can’t one of us be an android?!  Maybe one that makes good frappes and is obsequious at worst.

Setting aside the fact that I have neither an iphone, nor apps, nor a GPS, nor an android (neither the robot nor the phone) I still find myself wishing that Christianity, dieting, child rearing and all those other long-term commitments were immediate ones.  Like cleaning off a counter.  Yes, you have to do it AGAIN later, but when you do it NOW you SEE the difference.  Immediately.  Right NOW.

Yeah, I don’t like redoing things either.  How about if I only do things that are immediate and permanent.  My to do list would be much shorter at least.

Do you know what I do like, though?

I like looking back.  Over a span of time.

I love seeing the valleys and the struggles and noticing the fruit they’ve wrought on the other side.

Like reminding your child approximately 800 times over the last year to put their outdoor toys in the garage…. only to find that they do this automatically now.

Like realizing that even though finding out your hose is frozen still sends you into a tizzy for 10 minutes at least doesn’t ruin your whole day anymore.

Like noticing that things you used to be vastly impatient with are suddenly items that provoke peace and prayer.

Like seeing God finally end a struggle that has been ongoing since you were… I dunno… 8?

So here’s to the whole health kick thing.  Here’s to knowing that doing what seems to be producing no benefit now will result in great things with much time and effort.  May I not give up because the results are not instantaneous.  May I remember that the greatest benefit will be the discipline being instilled… which will lead to good things in those other pesky long-term, much redoing areas as often as it is applied.

For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  James 1

promising that perseverance produces character and character, hope. (Romans)

Here’s to faith…  in more areas than mere personal health.