I’ve learned my lesson about quality shoes. When I work out in cheaply made or worn out shoes, I get aches in places I didn’t know existed. I need support to do what I’m doing. A good running shoe has a different support system than well-built walking shoes. Cross-trainers can generalize purpose a bit, but I wouldn’t recommend running very long or frequently in them. It’s important to personally try on the shoes instead of simply taking a friend’s word for their level of excellence. Where one person needs little support, another needs maximum support. It’s important to know your weak spots and insure you’re walking on a supportive foundation.
The support of the people around you is equally as important. When you have a lack of support, you’re more likely to quit short of your goals. Cutting carbs out of your diet when everyone in your house is consistently devouring breads of many kinds is going to be difficult to say the least. Getting away from the house to walk or visit the gym is difficult when your family members are complaining about you being gone for more than five minutes. Downsizing your portions isn’t easy when your friends only get together to eat out and want to sip on high caloric and sugar-laden drinks in between visits to the pastry and dessert restaurants.
You want to continue to build relationships with people in your life, so you can’t avoid everyone around you. When everything they do seems to undermine your strategic efforts to exercise and watch food intake, throwing your hands in the air and tossing aside your personal goals seems to be the easiest answer.
Perhaps it’s not your friends who do most of the undermining. You can lack support for yourself, too. Your own lack of support gets in the way of your goals. You might get easily discouraged. You might rationalize excuses. You might be passive aggressive, avoiding or undermining the very goals you made for yourself.
Any lack of support from yourself or others is antagonistic to your goals, whether they be physical, academic, employment or spiritual. It’s important to be mindful of the type of support you’re getting.
“Get up, Ezra. You are in charge, and we will support you. Have courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4
Are the people in your life supportive or antagonistic about your spiritual growth?
I have a deal with several women in my life. All I have to do is text them one word: Pray. They don’t need to know the details. They won’t demand a lengthy conversation. They know God knows the details and that I’ll share when I can. In the meantime, they’ll do the most helpful and timely thing of all: pray. Of course, the deal goes both ways. I’ll do the same for them.
Not all the people in my life are supportive of my passionate pursuit to grow spiritually. I’m not going to cut off everyone who is antagonistic, because (1) some of them are an important part of my life and always will be and (2) antagonism from time to time reminds me to stay on my toes and resist temptation to yield to the status quo of those around me. Antagonism gone wild can be discouraging and even destructive. Antagonism in small doses can provide motivation.
It’s important to keep an accurate measurement of antagonism, insuring encouragement is outweighing it. As a ministry leader, I can get discouraged with those who aren’t happy with what’s going on or seem to drain me of energy with their constant needs and whines. However, someone can share how they connected with others in authentic ways for the first time at a recent event, and I’m recharged for weeks. I can question whether or not I’m impacting anyone’s life with writing and speaking, but when I get that one “You’ve touched my life and encouraged me” message, I’m rejuvenated.
What drains you?
What nourishes you?
Consistently measure what’s coming in and going out of your life. God supports you. “See, God will help me; the Lord will support me.” Psalm 54:4