The following was inspired by Father Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast Day 65:
Here’s a brief recap of a story not unfamiliar to most of us:
The children of Israel were slave to the Egyptians. They lived a hard life of labor. Moses eventually gets them out of Egypt. They are headed to the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. More importantly, they are headed to a place of freedom.
Between Egypt and the Promised Land is the wilderness. They don’t like it there, and like many unruly children, they complain and murmur. Their destination is a dream of the future. The wilderness blocks their vision of the dream. In their misery, they remember Egypt. It was a place of their slavery, but was it that bad? Maybe they should have stayed in Egypt rather than wandering around in the wilderness.
My (imaginary) friend Sarah is physically unfit. Here is a quick description of Sarah:
- She works in a job that doesn’t demand much from her physically.
- Her calorie intake is greater than her calorie burn.
- Due to convenience and the fact that it is tasty, she eats a lot of calorie dense, nutrient deficient food.
- She is regularly buying new clothes because she keeps growing out of her old ones.
- She is in a state of dis-ease. Why is there a hyphen in this word? Because her body is not in an optimal state to perform its normal duties. Her body is not at ease.
Sadly, Sarah is a slave to the environment she has created. She is not happy, but she doesn’t know how to escape her present condition.
Sarah’s loved ones are concerned about her well-being. They, the fitter ones, plant a vision within her mind of what is possible if she makes the following changes in her life:
- Lose weight by going into a calorie deficit.
- Engage in more physical activity to strengthen her muscles and bones.
- Eat nutrient dense foods that are satiating and give her the fuel she needs.
- Live a healthy lifestyle that promotes well-being and reduces and/or eliminates her current dis-eased state.
What her loved ones show her is a glimpse of her promised land.
Sarah agrees and with the assistance of her “advisors,” she flees the lifestyle that has enslaved her. Where is Sarah now? She is in her own wilderness. She has given up all the things that put her in bondage. The transition is difficult. She has made the changes but has yet to see the results. She has the vision in her mind, but she remembers the immediate gratification of her previous lifestyle. At this moment, Sarah is at a crossroads. How long she stays in the wilderness in up to her.
At one time in our lives, we have all been in Sarah’s place. We have found ourselves in bondage to a self-created system. This could be fitness, bad habits, an unfulfilling job, or anything that is a less-than-optimal situation. But during our captivity, a loved one, an inspirational video, a book, or an article presented us with a new vision of a better life. Undoubtedly, many of us chose to leave our old lifestyle in a quest for our own promise land. Making the decision to change, we entered the wilderness. We still have the vision, yet the old way of doing things no longer seems so bad. And then, we begin to doubt and to wander. In our hearts, we mumble and complain. Was it really that bad? Is all this really worth it? This is the test. We can continue our true path, or we can deviate. How long we wander in the wilderness is up to us.