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Start Where You Are

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I’m writing this post from my phone, so please excuse any formatting or editing flaws. (I’m talking to you, Mitzi May–wink, wink.)

I’ve had the words “Start where you are” on my mind recently. Yesterday morning I ran in 50 degree weather under a velvet, sapphire sky spangled with a million winking stars. For this runner it doesn’t get much better than that. I’ve been a runner for 16 months now. It still feels weird to say I’m a runner but it’s true. I’ve run in rain, snow and sleet. I’ve run in temps scaling 90 and single-digit temps. Through all that running, well over 1000 miles, the first mile is still the hardest. Getting out of the bed instead of hitting snooze is still the most painful. The first step on the asphalt is still the most taxing.

Whether it’s running or eating clean or prioritizing my time in God’s Word, the first step is always the hardest. Choosing the clementine over a cookie, putting the iPhone away and getting out my Bible, leaving my comfy bed to don my running shoes–it’s always the first step.

Maybe this is just me, but I’m tempted to wait to run until the weather is good or my right calf stops feeling tight. I’m tempted to give up on eating clean because it takes more work and is more expensive. I’m tempted to postpone my time with God until the house is quiet. But the weather is rarely perfect. My muscles are rarely not sore. Fast food is almost never healthy and my house is never quiet.

But start where you are. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty or ideal. If you want to start exercising, you don’t have to dole out tons of money for a gym membership. Try the Couch to 5K app for free. If you want to start eating clean, just try one meal every day. Chicken and roasted veggies is super easy. Almost every veggie I know tastes even better roasted. Just turn your oven to 425, cut up your veggies, drizzle a little olive oil or coconut oil and sea salt on top and stick the pan in the oven until the veggies get just a little brown on top. Our favorite veggies to roast are sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots and broccoli. If you want to start reading God’s Word, try the one-year reading plan on the Bible app. And my favorite idea to memorize Scripture is to use paint chips from the hardware store to write favorite verses on. I love the color and the price tag. (Side note: I regularly paint anything that stands still so I have lots of extra paint chips. You could also use 3×5 cards if you don’t hoard paint chips like me.)

Whatever your goal is, just start where you are and take one baby step forward. Give yourself freedom to mess up and not be perfect. And remember the first step is the hardest. Push through that and a blanket of stars awaits you.

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