Consistency: Are you in it for the long haul?

There’s a lot of talk going around about habits, goals, and bettering ourselves.

I’ve heard a lot of buzz about the concept of getting 1% better. If you get just 1% better every day, then but the end of the year you’ll have perfected whatever it is you’re trying to do.

The book Atomic Habits by James Clear (which is on my to-read list) encourages us to develop habits instead of setting goals. By doing so, we subtly change our own identity – how we see ourselves and present ourselves to others. You aren’t just going for runs every so often. You are a runner.

What it all comes down to is consistency. Nothing will become a habit if you aren’t consistent. You won’t reach your goals without putting in the work day in and day out. You aren’t in it for the short-term results (which you probably won’t see on a day to day basis). You’re in it for the month over month, year over year progress toward becoming the person you truly want to be.

Consistency is critical. You can’t walk into a gym, do some bicep curls, and expect to gain muscle mass after one session. You may feel the pain of muscle breakdown and regrowth. You will get stronger. But the real gains come after months or years of effort.

Similarly, if you’re only investing one hour a week in your faith, you probably won’t have that strong of a foundation for when times of hardship come (see The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders in Matthew 7). Jesus told us not just to listen to his words but to put them into practice. Do what he says. Take up our cross daily and follow him.

So how do we become more consistent? Here are some things I’ve tried based on expert suggestions. These principles can apply to fitness, faith, or any number of aspects of your life.

1. Make time, don’t just find time.

This is one area where technology can be a valuable tool or a complete disaster. We are all busy. I know that. So use the resources at your disposal. Put everything down in your calendar. Is there an event at church? Calendar. Need to block off time to exercise? Calendar. Schedule these things. After a while it will become assumed, and that time will be preserved.

Need help remembering to pray, or drink water, or stand up from your computer desk, or read your daily devotional? Set reminders. Put them on your to-do list. Anything that isn’t prioritized become expendable.

2. Make it easy because you’re lazy.

Sorry, but you just are. Humans, water, and electricity all take the path of least resistance. Any minor inconvenience can set you back and derail your consistency.

Lay out your work out clothes and prepare your gym bag the night before. Put your Bible or devotional book on your night stand, side table, or by the toilet – wherever it will be most convenient for you to read. Set up verse-of-the-day notifications. Hide the junk food and actually prep the vegetables! You want to make it easier to do the good activity and harder to do the not-so-good things. Because you’re lazy. I’m lazy. We’re all lazy. Don’t rely on self-starting motivation every morning. Simplify, automate, streamline, whatever it takes.

3. Don’t give up just because you don’t see immediate results.

You didn’t gain that weight overnight. You’re not going to lose it overnight either. Losing body fat is about your diet. Gaining muscle mass is accomplished through exercise. And you’ll see quicker results by maintaining a calorie deficit than you will by working out a few times a week. But that doesn’t mean it will be easy. Some weeks you might gain weight. Some weeks you might not hit the same weights as you did last week.

But if you’re being consistent, the overall trend will be in the right direction for you.

So it is with our faith. Discipleship is a life-long journey. We will never “arrive” in this life. Reading scripture, praying, worshiping with other believers, doing acts of service, pursuing justice, practicing the spiritual disciplines – if we’re only in it for the payoff, we’ve missed the point. We’re no better than the man who asked “what good thing must I do to inherit eternal life?” What really matters is “faith expressing itself through love.” Or as Eugene Peterson worded it (as the title of one of his books) God is looking for “a long obedience in the same direction.”


There is a lot more I could talk about – accountability, tracking progress, celebrating little wins, finding a reward system, and so on. But I think if you started with these three – Making time, Making it easy, Not getting discouraged – then you’ll be on the right track.

What else would you suggest? What has helped you develop consistency in your routines? Let me know in the comments below!

Jumpstart Your Goals: Find Your WHY

Two big components of my life are my FAITH and my FITNESS. I’ve been on both journeys long enough to realize there is a lot of overlap between the two. At the start of this new year many of us have goals pertaining to one or the other or both. I want to share some thoughts that are definitely helpful to me and will hopefully encourage you, too.

FIND YOUR “WHY”

Let’s start with this. Why are we doing the things we do? Why are we setting certain goals and seeking to improve or make progress in these areas of our lives? For me, and probably for you, a lot of our common behaviors are engrained, unconscious habits either learned or passed on from other people.

We do *this* because *this* is what we do.

It’s the generational equivalent of “Because I said so.”

But in order to make changes, I think we first need to have a good reason. We need a motivating factor. We need to find our WHY.

Continue reading → Jumpstart Your Goals: Find Your WHY

God of Hosts

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

Imagine two neighboring nations. One feels slighted or insulted by the other. Retaliation. Revenge. Shows of strength. Gathering of forces. Threats escalating. Battle lines drawn up. Battle drums. War cries. Impassioned calls to arms. The two armies—with most soldiers not even knowing why they are fighting—charge each other. But before any strike is laid, God Almighty and his heavenly army swoops down from the heavens. Suddenly spears explode. Shields erupt into flame. Bows break in the archers’ hands. As both armies stop dead in their tracks with confusion and bewilderment, a voice like thunder rings out:

BE STILL! AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. I WILL BE EXALTED AMONG THE NATIONS. I WILL BE EXALTED IN THE EARTH.

Continue reading → God of Hosts

Almost Famous

Fear of man will prove to be a snare,

but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

Proverbs 29:25

Deep down we all want to be accepted. We all want to belong. It’s in our nature. We are the most social creatures on the planet. Humans literally die in isolation. And because of this we all end up doing stupid stuff through junior high, high school, even into college and beyond in order to fit in. Socialization is part of self-preservation.

Continue reading → Almost Famous

Explain Like I’m Five

Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

What does it mean to be a Christian? Don’t we all wonder about that sometimes? The world gives so many mixed messages out there about religion, life, politics, worldview, etc. If we only relied on what others told us about being a Christian, especially through the media, we would get utterly confused and completely lost.

Continue reading → Explain Like I’m Five

Gifted & Talented

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4:10

Do you know what I think is one of the biggest detriments to the local church? The “professionalization” of ministry. (And I say this as a full-time minister.) Why is this such a problem? Because if churches can pay someone to do a task – preach, teach, lead worship, oversee administrative tasks, etc. – then other people don’t have to.

Continue reading → Gifted & Talented

Watch Your Mouth

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Colossians 4:6

My boys have reached the age where they are beginning to discover and understand “cuss words.” So watching movies and listening to music is really fun!

“This song has the ‘H’ word, daddy.”

“I know, but they were talking about the actual Hell, so it’s not a cuss word.”

“He just said a bad word, didn’t he?”

“Yep, now just don’t repeat it.”

Continue reading → Watch Your Mouth

REVIEW: God Over Good, by Luke Norsworthy

God Over Good: Saving Your Faith by Losing Your Expectations of God by Luke Norsworthy

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

God Over Good is an approachable, relatable, personal book about faith and doubt. I’ve been a long-time listener of Luke’s podcast, “Newsworthy with Norsworthy,” so many of the main points and the stories were familiar. But since I’m somewhat late to this (about 3 years post-publication), they still seemed fresh.

I appreciate Luke’s honesty and vulnerability, which is definitely not easy to do in writing, much less for someone with a podcast audience and an active preaching ministry. But it’s his honesty that makes it work. Luke doesn’t really sugar coat anything. He, like many of us, has been disillusioned with God and on the brink with his faith. Speaking from experience as a minister, that’s a very precarious situation to be in. It can be downright scary.

If you read this book, be prepared to have many of your assumptions challenged. Through the power of story-telling, Luke is able to get us, his readers, to lower our own defenses, question our own preconceptions and expectations we have about God, and follow him on a journey to rediscover the beauty and the mystery of God revealed in Christ.

Overall, I think this book is needed more and more among our church members and pastors. When churches go into survival mode, the demand for adherence to “secondary” beliefs becomes a harsher battle ground. I’m afraid the dominoes have started to fall for many in our congregations. It’s time for a paradigm shift of what faith actually means and looks like going into the 2020s and a post-pandemic world.

I highly recommend God Over Good and Luke’s podcast, Newsworthy with Norsworthy.



View all my reviews

The Why

Over the last month or so, I’ve seen several stories of victims of abuse of some kind come forward to name their abusers and describe the abuse. One thing I see pretty much every time this happens is “why did they wait so long to say anything?” I want to try to explain it.

Often, when a person is experiencing abuse of some kind, be it mental (emotional/verbal included), physical, and/or sexual, he/she will go to someone to get help. Sometimes, the person is believed and helped. More often than not, that doesn’t happen. The person will be met with inaction, blame, disbelief, or perhaps all three. All the while, the abuser is working to convince the person being abused that it’s deserved.

Here’s my personal example. Fifteen years ago, I experienced about a year of constant, severe mental abuse. I was told by the people abusing me that I deserved it. There were “consequences for my actions,” and I wouldn’t be experiencing it if I hadn’t messed up first. At the beginning, I went to a leader to get help who said “oh, I can’t get involved.” Message: you’re on your own, I’m not helping you. I remember vividly crying at an elder’s wife’s house after experiencing another “consequence.” Baffled by my emotional response, she said, “did you honestly expect it to be different?” Message: you deserve this. I told a friend what was happening and she said, “that can’t be right. He wouldn’t do that.” Message: you’re lying. Told a friend’s parent what was happening and he said, “this wouldn’t be happening if you hadn’t made the mistake first.” Message: I’m the one to blame. I deserve this.

I stopped looking for help. I stopped talking about what I was experiencing. What was the point? It seemed like every place I turned to for help turned me away. My already low self-esteem became basically non-existent. Every unkind word, every move to ostracize me- it was all deserved. I was a hypocrite and a failure. I wasn’t welcome. Because I did mess up. I did make a mistake. If they’re all saying these are the consequences, it must be true and I’m a terrible person who should be grateful for whatever kindness I receive. I’m thankful I had my parents and my (now) husband during that time or things may have gotten worse. I’m also thankful I had a good doctor who asked the hard questions and upped my medicine.

Through good friends, an amazing therapist, and my family, I now am able to say I didn’t deserve the way I was treated. Fifteen years later. While I have no desire to call out anyone by name or try to “cancel” anyone, I can understand why others would. If I thought for a moment they were doing to someone else what they did to me, I’d shine the brightest spotlight on them to bring that darkness out. I would do whatever I could to protect those who needed it (because no one should be treated the way I was, let alone a teenager). Maybe that’s why people wait so long. They’re content to accept what happened to them as long as it’s not happening to someone else. Or maybe it’s taken 10 or more years to find their voice and accept and understand that what happened to them wasn’t deserved. It wasn’t. It takes time to get over that, to unlearn the lies you believed to be truth. So, after all that time and all that work, maybe they want to use that new-found voice to say “what you did to me was wrong” and work hard to ensure their abusers aren’t in a position to hurt someone else. Because, like I was told so often during that awful year: your actions have consequences.

Ew, Feet!

“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”

John 13:14

Most of us hate feet. We hate having other people’s feet close to us. We hate other people touching our feet. We don’t even like looking at pictures of feet. So, can you imagine having to sit down around a meal with a bunch of guys who have been walking along dirt roads in sandals all day – and YOU have to wash them?

Ew, David!

Continue reading → Ew, Feet!