I ran for 10 minutes yesterday. Ten. Whole. Minutes. It was the first day I was allowed to do so in quite a long time. I woke up excited about the possibility. My knee didn’t hurt. Not one bit. I dug out my running shoes with giddiness, barely able to wait to hit the ground running. Literally, running. Something I love so much and have missed for the past several months because of my knee. My stubborn knee.
I ran. I ran slowly. I ran smiling. I ran saying “hello” to the business men and women I passed on the flattest stretch of pavement I could find near my house that just happens to be lined with office buildings, receiving strange looks along the way. I didn’t care. I was running, and it felt great.
The 10 minutes took more effort than I wanted it to take and was nothing close to the miles logged previous to the latest knee injury, but that was OK with me. It was a start. 10 minutes, every other day, increasing by 20-percent every week. I actually did the math with the calculator on my phone and calendar in front of me. It wouldn’t be too long until I would be back to what was my normal distance. Not too long, compared to the 5 months that have already passed.
Then I came home, took off my shoes, cleaned up and went on with my day. Happy. Telling probably too many people who didn’t care that much that I was able to run. For 10 whole minutes! I was excited. And if you’ve know me at all, you know that when I get excited about something, I share. With everyone.
Nonetheless, it was a mere few hours later when reality smacked me upside the face, and I felt a slight twinge in my knee. My grandiose dreams of another 10 minutes two days later felt like they were slipping away. Out of annoyance and wondering “what’s up with that,” I mentioned to Physical Therapist Dude, who has been helping me with my knee for three months now, that it wasn’t feeling normal. He promptly reminded me that I did, in fact, run 10 minutes, which was a big deal. OK, I get it. But then he continued to ask me, specifically, if I had been doing my physical therapy homework that was assigned three weeks ago. I had been, kinda? Sorta? Maybe? OK, not entirely.
“You have to do it for it to work.”
But I’m terrible at remembering to stretch. And I need to do that other stuff with gym shoes, and because I don’t workout anymore thanks to my knee, I never bother to get out gym shoes. And that one thing, you didn’t tell me to do that this time. The time before, yes. But this time? No. Well, OK, I should have known that. And no, I wasn’t doing that at all.
Well, again, duh. For my knee to get better, I had to do the work. Having a reminder on my phone wasn’t enough. Resting my knee wasn’t enough. Waiting the specified time to ride my bike and run those 10 minutes wasn’t enough. I had to actually do the annoying, petty tasks assigned for said annoying, petty tasks to work.
But then why is it that I only kinda, sorta did what I was suppose to do? Why did I only listen to the parts to which I wanted to listen? Despite what I said I believed, why did I act in a way that implied I knew better than Physical Therapist Dude? I’d like to have some brilliant reason as to why these unintentional little choices were made, “explaining” my reasons for not doing such tasks, but at the end of the day I was the one causing the problem and only hurting myself. And I probably sounded like a complete moron to Physical Therapist Dude who [hopefully] assumed I was smarter than that.
There are so many other things that I do or don’t that I know aren’t good or would be good for me. I can see where I want to be, which is not here, but don’t take the steps to get there.
Christians are maybe even the most often guilty of this. We know and trust that God will forgive us, so we get lazy and fail to make little changes when it comes to the junk in our own lives and pretend it’s OK, like I pretended my knee would be OK without stretching every day or doing that stuff that needed gym shoes. And, c’mon, that’s just silly.
Several conversations in the past week about my own bad habits and the bad habits of others have made me wonder why we’re all so lazy when it comes to the little things? We expect relationships, jobs, situations, frustrations to all just magically get better, but we pick and choose the steps that will get us from here to there, completely ignoring what we know we’re supposed to do. We decide what’s easy and fun, going with that plan, skipping the mundane and tedious that might get in the way, which doesn’t make sense when we’re talking about nothing that’s all that drastic and life-changing. We take note of what needs to happen. We consider it for a moment. And then we go back to doing what we’ve always been doing, asking why our current situation hasn’t changed.
After all, you have to do it for it to work.