I had instant organic oatmeal at breakfast this morning. It was good, but not nearly as good as the old fashioned oats that take time to prepare. I’ve had a few cups of instant coffee in the past, but they don’t compare to a freshed brewed cup that takes a little time. Instant potatoes; don’t even go there !
Don’t get me wrong, I like fast things (cars, motorcycles, service at restaurants etc), but instant’s not always best.
Eleven months ago, my health wasn’t great; I was overweight and out of shape. I went to my doctor and a personal trainer. Neither of them gave me instant solutions. My trainer told me that if I’d begin eating clean and exercising consistently, I’d see results over time. I followed his advice and six months later had lost over 50 pounds – felt great – and all my bloodwork with my doctor came back GREAT! What’s the point? There was no instant solution for my situation. I had to change my lifestyle. I’m still eating clean and exercising consistently. I don’t always feel like working out, but I do it because it brings the results I want.
That brings me to the real reason for this blog. Many of the people I talk with today want instant solutions to their problems. Most of the people who come see me, or one of our pastors, for marriage counseling have been having problems for years. However – they want us to offer them a quick fix solution; something that gives them instant relief from the issue. But their problems didn’t start overnight and won’t be solved overnight!
It’s kind of like my health issues; I didn’t wake up one morning out of shape and overweight – it took time to get there – and I got there because of poor choices I made. But even when you’ve been making poor choices – you can change your direction by making wise choices.
Here are a couple of wise choices I made in changing my lifestyle (health): 1) I enlisted a personal trainer who knew how to help me and made a commitment to stick with him for an extended period of time. 2) My wife Janet and I did this together – so there was some built in accountabitlity. 3) I didn’t expect instant results and when there were plateaus in weight loss I didn’t give up. 4) I made this a part of my spiritual life by asking God’s help. (The reality is I was convicted by the Holy Spirit about my poor habits and example in Dec. 2009 and finally decided to be obedient).
How does this relate to problems you’re having. Let’s say you’re struggling in your marriage. Maybe you should do something similar to what I did to address my health issues. 1) get someone who is a strong believer (of the same sex) to meet with you regularly and give you wise advice – commit to meet with them over an extended period of time 2) make the attempt to engage your spouse to work on issues with you – where they go to someone for wise advice – and/or where you go to a Christian counselor together 3) don’t expect instant results – most of your problems didn’t start overnight and won’t be solved overnight – (when there are plateaus – keep on keeping on b/c you will see results if you persevere) 4) seek God’s help and presence every day – asking Him for power and direction to make the wise choices you need to make.
Note: This is not a cure-all and isn’t meant to be counseling for your issues. Some of your situations may require prolonged and/or intense help from a licensed professional Christian counselor. The main thing I want you to realize is that instant’s not always best, and when it comes to the things that matter most in life – you need to change your lifestyle – which is something that takes consistent time & effort.