Now or Later?

I want to lose a few pounds, maybe ten or so. That’s why I’m attending a weight management class sponsored by our local hospital. The emphasis, however, has been on eating properly and exercising regularly, not only to lose weight but also to achieve optimum health. Both goals are important—and closely linked.
Although it takes time to attend the weekly classes, prepare fresh foods instead of pre-packaged ones, measure food portions, keep a record of what I eat, read labels at the grocery store, exercise, and so forth, I believe such extra effort is beneficial. I can either do those things now, while I have good health and only a few pounds to lose, or do them later on—once a doctor has given me news I really don’t want to hear. Since, at some point, I’m going to have to take proper care of my body, I figure, I might as well go ahead and do it now–and enjoy extended wellness–rather than wait until my health has deteriorated to the level where changing my eating habits won’t reverse the damage but only slow me down a bit as I slide down the slippery slope toward bad health.
I’m beginning to realize it makes a lot of sense to go ahead and do whatever I have to do. Like organizing the basement and having a yard sale—instead of putting it off another year. If I’m going to have to do something anyway, why put it off? Why not simply go ahead and do it, then have peace of mind about it? (Often the thing I dread doing turns out not to be so difficult after all. Have you found that to be true?)
But it’s hard to do the sensible things, for we’re bombarded with messages such as: Eat whatever you want—and as much as you want. Why deprive yourself? At the end of a busy day, head for the recliner or the couch. After all, you deserve to rest. You can exercise later.
However, if we wait until some future time to take proper care of our bodies, the damage will have already been done and may be irreversible. Therefore, we ought to do something now, while we have opportunity. Or, as the proverb says, “Don’t wait to pray until the Devil’s done gotcha.”
Taking steps in the right direction is often hard, like walking up a steep hill or into a strong wind. Yet, a time will come when taking the easy route is no longer an option, if we want to either retain or try to regain a measure of fitness—physical, emotional, financial, spiritual or otherwise.

We can either “suffer” now as we progress toward wellbeing or we can suffer later on as we deal with the results of our poor choices and lack of discipline.

The advice Paul gave to young Timothy centuries ago is wise counsel for us, as well. “Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness…Be an example to all believers in what you teach, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity…Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on your teaching…follow what is right and good…Guard what God has entrusted to you” (1 Timothy, chapters 4 and 6, New Living Translation).
Bottom line: Know what’s right. Do it. Now!
© 2005 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill, whose web address is .

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