Saturday, August 27, 2011

Content But Not Complacent

Are you content? The apostle Paul stated the following in scripture: “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content” (Philippians 4:11) and also “Now godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Timothy 6:6).
My husband has gone back to school and has to take philosophy as one of his college courses. His class this semester began with philosopher Bertrand Russell’s idea of the Practical Man. Russell stated in The Problems of Philosophy, "The 'practical' man, as this word is often used, is one who recognizes only material needs, who realizes that men must have food for the body, but is oblivious of the necessity of providing food for the mind." Russell’s Practical Man is content with his day to day routine to meet his immediate needs; and in his contentment, he is complacent about anything outside of those immediate needs.
Many times in our spiritual lives we look at scriptures such as those above and claim to be content, but are we actually complacent? Do we just get by with our Sunday spiritual nourishment?  Do we only pray when we have an immediate need? Do we read our Bible and pray out of routine habit without thought, or are we growing spiritually?  Are we challenging ourselves? 
Paul also stated the following, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
Don’t allow yourself to be satisfied with cursory routines. Press toward the goals God has for you. Be content, but don’t become complacent.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Competitive Advantage

We’re starting a diet contest at work on Monday. We do this once or twice a year, and it’s always based on percentage of weight loss. I’m the queen of percentage weight loss and then weight gain. Each year I lose the weight and win the contest, and each year I gain the weight back. Since we haven’t had a contest yet this year, I have definitely gained the weight back plus some.
This year’s contest rules are different, so I’m not sure I’m ready. The winner for the first four weeks will be based on total pounds lost, not percentage, and the winner for the second four weeks will once again be based on percentage. I have a reputation to uphold, but pounds versus percentage is not in my comfort zone.
The competitive advantage now comes into play. What is that? During our company diet contests, “competitive” is more than just my nickname. I want to win, so I don’t cheat on my diet – at all. My secret to winning in the past has been to just stay focused on the end result and not cheat. It reminds me of the tortoise and the hare. I plod along slowly and steadily each week not worrying if someone has a large loss one week. I stay focused and let others do the cheating. So, in a way, they are the ones helping me win. I probably shouldn’t be releasing my secrets, but what do I have to lose -- other than pounds.
Stay tuned for the results as this tortoise starts figuring out how to get a few more miles out of her first four-week tank of gas.