Why do I do what I don’t want to do?

Romans 7:15 (HCSB)
15  For I do not understand what I am doing, because I do not practice what I want to do, but I do what I hate.

Do you ever feel like no matter what you know to be the right thing to do, you still make the wrong choice? I’ve recently starting running about 20 to 30 miles per week. I ran the local Turkey Trot (5k) and it felt amazing. I enjoyed it so much I am now considering quite seriously running the Mickelson Marathon in June. All of this running means that I will need to eat better, keep up my fitness, run more miles than I ever have before, and make good choices.

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I struggle every day and sometimes minute by minute making right choices. The most difficult choice seem to be the ones that should not be difficult. For example, this morning I said that I was hungry. My wife offered to make me a smoothie and I chose leftover pizza instead. I plan to run 3 miles at some point today. Now, instead of a nourishing, healthy smoothie providing the energy I need to run effectively, I am going to have to stop every half mile or so in order to vurp pepperoni, jalapeño, and stomach acid. I have been reading books lately about running and the proper diet so the knowledge is there, it seems impossible sometimes to choose wisely! After thinking about it for a while, I will likely talk myself completely out of running given I am not currently training, but simply working on my upkeep for my base fitness.

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See! I’m already trying to justify not running when I know I want to and should, just like I justified eating the pizza rather than a smoothie because, after all, it is almost lunch time anyway!

I know I should eat reasonable portions, cut out sugar, eat whole foods, organic, drink plenty of water, and stretch after a run, but do I do any of that? No! Why?

I DON’T KNOW!

I want to. I need to. I know it is what is right for me, I just don’t do it. What I usually find myself doing is trying not to ponder it too much because then I won’t get to taste the candy bar, pizza, vanilla Pepsi, and my reuben I so badly want to taste. My mind has gotten to the point where all it seems to want is to please itself no matter the cost. This is scary behavior because it is the behavior of an addict. Funny how we can sometimes forget that food can be just as addictive and as much of a problem as being addicted to drugs, it’s just an acceptable addiction for many people. It will take the power of God to set me straight on my eating and health habits.

The verse in Romans is not talking just about food choices, actually, not at all unless your food choices have to do with sinful desire or lack of self-control. After all, Adam and Eve made a food choice that was sinful. Anytime we become a slave to our selfish desires, we are missing the mark no matter what it involves.

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I struggle daily with useless and meaningless activity. I know I should be writing regularly, but I find myself sitting in front of the TV or playing a game instead. I know I should be reading the bible more, but instead I drift in and out of sleep for an hour while I wait to get ready for work in the morning. At least I recently started doing Yoga in the morning, but I still don’t give myself as much time as I know I need to start out my day meditating on the word of God. I ask the question, “Why do I do what I don’t want to do?” and I think the problem is that I am doing what I want to do and it is just the right thing to do. If I really WANT to change my eating behavior, time I am spending with God, running to keep in shape, building relationships with my family and friends, then I have to motivate myself to do so. I NEED to think about the choice before I choose. Andy Stanley wrote a book called, Ask It. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “Is this wise or unwise?” We should be asking ourselves this question for every decision that is voluntary. Take the 10 seconds to ponder a choice. I suppose if you consciously make the poor choice, then it is what you really wanted, consequences and all so there is no room to complain.

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Here is my challenge going forward. Find someone to be an accountability partner on your choices, preferably someone you see every day. Remind each other to think for 10 or more seconds about your choices. If you know each other’s goals, challenge each other to stay the path when it comes to your goals. If you are trying to make better food choices, have your partner hold you accountable to eating right when the situation arises. Ask each other how it went if you see each other at the end of the day. You can’t get mad now if the person asks you, “Do you really want to eat that piece of cake?” if you have asked them to hold you accountable. If you are trying to memorize bible verses, have your partner quiz you daily or weekly to support your spiritual growth. If you are trying to stay on a regular schedule of exercise, share your plan with someone so that can ask how it went. If you are PLANNING to do a 5k or some other running activity, sign up for it and share that info with others. This was the advice I was given by a fellow runner and good friend. It will encourage you to keep training. If you are going to try to quit smoking, let someone know so they can ask about your progress and motivates you to keep trying. Do not act stubbornly as I often do and go rebel on the person asking because, “No one can tell me what I should or should not do!” My apologies go to my wife and mother for each time I gave them this attitude.

Feel free to comment on this blog if you have something you plan to do for this challenge and you really want an accountability partner. I would be happy to be that person for you. Feel free to call me out as well. If I have people asking me how my bible reading is going, how am I holding up in my run training, or how are your eating choices lately, you can bet I will stay the course much easier if I know someone will ask. By the way, it only took one comment from a reader of my blog today to get me back to writing on it again. Sometimes just a little encouragement can help us make the right choice. Have a great week!

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