Once upon a time, there was a lazy horse named Emerson. He had a shimmering, silver mane, but because he was too lazy to go to Wal-Mart and buy himself a styling brush, those tangled fibres made him look like that guy from Flock of Seagulls.
Emerson had the legs of a thoroughbred champion, but because he was too lazy to get himself a Gold’s Gym membership, those legs had little to do except hold up his bloated horsey belly. Cheetos and McDoubles were his best friends. Emerson sat on his computer for hours on end, drawing up plans and schemes for how to lose weight and better himself, but sadly, the lure of Facebook and Equinefriends.com proved too powerful and the problem worsened.
One day, while eating Nutella sandwiches out of the horse trough, Emerson looked at his horsey silhouette-shadow on the ground and became angry.
“Why can I not move past the planning stage and achieve what I want to achieve?” he asked himself.
Emerson decided that he wasn’t trying hard enough. He needed to be more serious. With an aggressive whinny, he set off to Barnes and Nobles and bought himself a collection of self-help books. Famous authors included Pony Robbins and Joel Horseteen. He hired a life coach. He bought a CrossFit workout kit. He recited self-motivation poems to himself every morning to improve his self-esteem.
But in spite of this surge of activity and strategy, Emerson only sunk deeper into his own sloth, bingeing on Horse-a-roni meals and spending hours playing Angry Colts on his iPhone.
Do you ever feel like Emerson?
I know that some of you (we’ll call you Shiny Happy People), with little more than the supernatural power of your smile, can make all your proverbial clouds blow away. You succeed easily. You say, “I’m going to do that,” and you do it. You rise to the occasion. You scale tall buildings in a single bound. How do you do what the rest of us cannot?
I remember something I saw once on the back of a Joel Osteen lunch box: “The only difference between you and successful people is good looks and money.” Okay, maybe it was a Kim Kardashian lunch box. I remember it because I remember what a load of horse patties it was. There isn’t anything different between the Shiny Happy People and the rest of us, right?
What’s the real problem?
The Bible tells us that transformational change is ongoing. Some of us go years living like Emerson, stuck in the gate at the starting line. But, over the course of our lives, no one stays exactly the same. 2 Corinthians 3:18 reads,
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
So, even if you look like you’re stuck in the gate, know that you are being fashioned into a world-class thoroughbred, destined to “win the race”.
The truth is, I have no idea why Shiny Happy People look like they have it all together. What I do know is that when I have tried my hardest to lose weight, I have usually failed.
It seems that we all crawl out of the mud pit of life at different times, at different speeds, in different places, for different reasons.
I’m not giving permission for slothful living. If we need to lose weight, start saving money, or spend less time on the iPhone, then we need to try our hardest, even if we’re bad at it.
So, my message to all the Emersons out there reading this article is put down the jar of Nutella, pull out the exercise ball and blow the dust off that Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University book under the stack of unpaid bills. Compared to the Shiny Happy People, I know we aren’t so great at this game, but the message is clear: do not give up!