By Dr. Kyle Christensen
It is interesting that so much of our economy and mindsets are focused on shortcuts. In a culture that is fixated on immediate gratification, it can be difficult convincing someone of the value of slow steady incremental progress toward a goal.
There lies two opposing methods of operation, which come from, I believe, two opposing forces. Prophets, sages and wise men and women as well as scripture have long used examples from nature as a model for obtaining growth, progress and happiness. You plant the seed, care for it, nurture it and some time down the road you will reap the benefits of your work.
Other plans offer "get rich" quick schemes. Plans of entitlement - reaping the benefits of anothers work. Buy it now, pay for it later. Quick guaranteed weight loss. The easy road to riches. The fast track to success.
Most men and women are naturally lazy. We want to expend the least amount of effort for the greatest possible benefit. We often look for paths other than the tried and True methods. But the Tried and True are successful because they work. If "shortcut" or more efficient way is found, it no longer is a shortcut, but becomes part of the "Tried and True" method.
Let's take for example weight loss, since that is something many of us reflect on at the New Year. I promise you there IS a tried and true method to losing weight and maintaining good health. It is the plan of God and nature. Namely, eating healthy food (Whole Natural Foods and avoid processed foods), exercising regularly, getting enough rest (which means for most of us at LEAST 8 hours EVERY night), and managing stress. Health is a lifestyle, it cannot be something on your checklist to get done, then move on with what you really would rather be doing.
The world, and by the world I mean all of the slick marketing schemes, offers pills, potions, and a variety of ways to "trick" the body into losing weight QUICK. Drink delicious shakes (of course they are laden with all kinds of chemicals). Lose weight without exercise. The biggest lie of them all is DIET SODA.
Another hugh deception is the Low-Carb Diet: yes, you lose water weight very quickly but result in a rebounding of weight like nothing else and the end result is poorer health.
The reality is, there are no effective shortcuts without consequences. Some may argue that when it comes to money, some have successfully obtained it (money) in quick, lucky or risky ways. If your objective is money, this may be true. However, the motivation behind having lots of money is not the fact of having lots of money, but having happiness. The adversary to God and his designs has effectively instilled in the minds of most people that money should be the goal and design of their life's ambitions. Money, however, is not happiness. Read about the fate of lottery winners, which are extreme examples of sudden wealth.
So my question to you as we begin this New Year: Whose Plan are you going to follow? Do you have the maturity, the faith and the trust to follow the wisdom that has proven itself time and again? Are you willing to follow God's ways by sowing seeds of good dietary and exercise habits? Or are you still thinking that "the latest scientific finding", the latest multi-level scheme, the slick celebrity endorsed advertisement is really the way for you? Really? Do you still hang on to hope that one of these shortcuts will make you slimmer, richer or younger looking?
Talking with a friend he asked if I could sum up Satan's methods in one word. Shortcut. I believe that this hook - the shortcut - has deceived and cheated most of us. And like gambling, sometimes you win, but most times you lose. And your net result will be a loss and a lot of wasted time.
So I ask you take stock of your life or even an aspect or two. Are you pursuing any shortcuts? Physical shortcuts: for losing weight or getting healthy? Mental shortcuts: cramming for tests and not really learning and understanding? Emotional shortcuts: well, I spend "quality time" - as an excuse for glossing over important relationships? Spiritual shortcuts: going through the motions spiritual routines - scriptures, prayer, etc. - without striving for actual communing with God?
If our goal and objective in life truly is, as it should be, happiness. Is there really such a thing as a shortcut to happiness?
Let me just mention a few suggestions on Weight Loss, since I've bashed some of the advertised nonsense. For many following "a plan" or program will be helpful. The key, in my mind, is developing an understanding and philosophy that is true. My wife and I read diet books - not so much to jump on the latest fad but to find and share with others what we belief may be good and useful. We both really like The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren.
We believe it is nutritionally sound and brings in a spiritual component that is important.
Dr. Kyle Christensen
December 31, 2013