Where I am right now:I have a Dad body
Where I want to be: I want Ryan Gosling’s abs
Are six-pack abs even realistic at my age? If not, a two-pack? Heck, I’ll settle for Spanx for guys. Do they make “gut-be-gones?”
Isn’t it funny how easy it is to recognize the “gaps” that exist between where we are, and where we’d like to be?
Gaps are easy for any of us to see.
Don’t believe me? Just ask any 42-year-old woman to describe the gap in her marriage. In less than five seconds she’ll say…
Where I am right now: I’m married to “Mr. Excitement” over there
Where I want to be: I want La La Land
Geez. Come on ladies. Why is it always La La Land?
Gaps exist not only in marriages, and fitness, but in every area of our lives.
GIVING OUR GAPS A NAME
Over 100 years ago Williams James said the best word to describe the frustration we feel because of these gaps is unhappiness.
In his book The Varieties of Religious Experience, James’ groundbreaking study into the psychology of human nature, he contended,
“If we were to ask the question: ‘What is human life’s chief concern?’ one of the answers we should receive would be: ‘It is happiness.’ How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness, is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all they are willing to endure.”
James argued that the dissatisfaction we feel because of our gaps is so pervasive that we spend every waking moment searching for its opposite: happiness.
But if this is true, shouldn’t there be so many obnoxiously happy people trying to hug us at work that we have to keep our office doors locked?
You would think so, but there aren’t.
The reason is simple: people want instant happiness.
Like the way we find instant happiness by having an affair with a co-worker, or taking a hard-earned vacation to the Caribbean (courtesy of our friends at Visa), or eating a half-gallon of peanut butter fudge ice cream.
FYI – I WILL ninja kick you in the face if you try to take my peanut butter fudge, but I’ll be the first to admit that instant happiness from ice cream – derived almost entirely from the hit of dopamine I get in the pleasure sensors of my brain – is short-lived (and creates more problems in the long haul).
INSTANT HAPPINESS vs. GENUINE HAPPINESS
First century Christians understood something 21st century instant happiness seekers struggle with.
They knew that genuine happiness is the by-product of believing and doing hard things.
James 1:2-4 puts it this way,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
For instance, the earliest Christians would contend that if you’re unhappy in your marriage, the way to become genuinely happy is to engage in a series of hard conversations, own up to your mistakes, ask for forgiveness, grieve your losses, and find people to hold you accountable for the changes you want to make.
In other words, if you want to become mature and complete in your relationship and experience genuine long-term marital happiness, forget looking for La La Land. Do hard things now and you will experience the long-term benefits for years to come.
This is true not just for marriage, and physical fitness, but for every area of our lives.
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