How many times have you heard this famous quote by Albert Einstein? “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Einstein does have a valid point here. Let’s look at fitness for our first illustration. If you want to be more flexible, stronger, have more cardiovascular endurance AND your current lifestyle isn’t contributing to it, you will need to do something different in order to reach your goals. If you don’t, well, as Einstein puts it, that’s just INSANE! However, sometimes we can rush through doing the “same thing” or we get tired of the “routine” of exercise. We can rationalize by saying, “I am not getting the results I want, so it must not be working.” We feel that we must change what we are doing; we must find something else that will “work” for us. In order to achieve the results we desire, we need to learn the difference between insanity and persistence.
The freedictionary.com defines persist as, “obstinately repetitious.” Determining to repeat an action in the HOPE of a desired goal—even if we have yet to see it—is not insane; it is how we achieve health and wellness. We need to determine whether we should keep doing our same fitness routine in the hope that we will achieve the desired results even if we are not experiencing them currently. Do we persist and stay focused on the future of achieving our goals or walk away and try something else….or worse, give up all together. Persistence pays off, but working ineffectively can make us feel “insane.”
So how do you know if your routine is insane or persistent?
1) Do you have a fitness routine? If not, ask a certified fitness professional to help you develop one that corresponds with your goals.
2) Feel free to change up the type of workout without changing your level of activity. Again, certified instructors can help you find new classes that match your level of fitness.
3) Maybe the issue is that your routine USED to work, but now it doesn’t. Perhaps it is time to kick it up, take it to the next level? In our fitness routines, we must balance feeling like we are able to complete the exercises and them being too easy for our body to receive the benefit. Make sure that you feel challenged but not defeated. (*note: some days you will not feel like exercising and that is ok. REST is an important component and actually helps muscles repair and build. However, a brisk walk or a gentle yoga/Pilates class might be just what you need to get motivated to complete your daily routine!)
Admittedly, I have had similar feelings in my faith walk to that of my fitness routines. There have been times in my life that I have grown weary of “working out” my faith. My commitment to my quiet time is something that I want to persist in doing, but sometimes I don’t. I have committed to praying for my husband, or doing any number of things in an effort to live out being a “wife of noble character”. Yet, my commitment wanes in these things when I do not see the “results” I expect. “Is this even working or making a difference?”….I wonder. I have these same kinds of “insane” feelings when trying to parent my children as God has commanded. Sometimes patience and gentleness get pushed aside when I just want QUIET NOW! The results I expect are not happening, so I change my strategy. What I fail to understand is that the “routine” that God has set forth in His Word is not about getting results how I want them and when I want them. His plan to work out my faith, through persistence, that “obstinate repetition” will build strength, endurance, and shape me into His image.
When we feel like our faith isn’t what it should be, we can ask some questions:
1) Do I have a faith routine? Prayer, corporate worship, Bible Study? All of these elements are crucial for building up my faith in Christ.
2) Within the elements we use to grow our faith, it is ok to change places of Worship, types of Bible Study, and varying our prayers. (As long as they are in line with Scripture.)
3) Does it feel like your faith is growing weaker instead of stronger? Perhaps it is not time to reduce the load, but to increase it! Taking the “exercising” of our faith and moving out into the world stretches and strengthens us. It builds endurance as we encounter resistance in the world. We may not be able to instantly see results, but that doesn’t mean the results aren’t coming!
Galatians 6:9 gives us an alternate view to Einstein of repetition without current evidence of results, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Keep up the routine of strengthening your faith, even when you do not SEE results…you CAN expect them!!! God is faithful and He WILL deliver results, but in His time and for His purpose.