Discipline (Part 3): The Third Day Hump

Every few weeks I find myself in the position where it is time again to recommit to running. I actually do love to run. I love being in shape and just being able to go out for a run. However, after each pregnancy I have faced this enormous hurdle of having to get back in shape. For me at the end of every pregnancy when I am gi-normous, I don’t just dream of meeting my baby for the first time, I dream of running. I dream of gliding down the street with effortless grace and stamina… yes, it is a dream. No, my 40+ lb body after baby does not “glide”… but never the less, it is always my passion to get back to running. So as soon as the doctor lets me and I am physically able, I start running. And let me just tell you, the third day is always the hardest! The first day you are just so excited about getting to run, and you have great enthusiasm, and you are motivated. The second day, you are still excited, but more tired, but you do it anyway. The third day, the pain sets in, and your muscles ache and you have no idea why you dreamed of running, because running sucks. (Sorry if this offends any of you, I just couldn’t think of another way to say it)

But the mystery is, if you can make it past the third day, it actually does start to get easier. You stop being so sore, and you start to get strong. Eventually, it even starts being enjoyable and you start loving to run again. However, for the last few months I have been struggling to run consistently. I keep running and then stopping because for one thing, it has rained for the last three months in Tulsa. And I am not even joking. Everything is flooded. For another, I started blogging, and it is really difficult to get up at 6am to run when you have gone to bed after midnight. So as I keep recommitting, I keep getting to experience the glorious “third day” hump. All this to say: I have extensive experience with the “third day” hump, but I also know what lies on the other side.

So, this is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to discipline. We have talked about letting the Holy Spirit lead you and relying on His strength. We have talked about not letting money be your treasure and yet being purposeful with the seed that God has put into your hand. However, even as you feel your heart pulling you towards using wisdom in your finances, and the Holy Spirit leading you to budget, you will still face a “third day” hump when you start to budget. It may not happen on literally the third day, but it will be just a little way into budgeting that you will just feel tired of it, and lazy, and just not feel like budgeting anymore. It will be easy at this point to just say, “Well, I tried to budget, but I just don’t think it works for me.” This isn’t really true at all. The truth is, you just hit the “third day” wall and quit. So, even with the grace of the Holy Spirit on your side, and a purpose in your heart, you still have a choice. What do you do if it gets hard, and your flesh reacts and doesn’t want to do it anymore?

It is in these moments that you give your flesh a pep talk, or call a friend for a pep talk, or email me, I’ve got lots of “pep” for these moments. Yes, there are tough moments when you are creating a habit, where you will have to push through, but the benefits of this small push are for a lifetime! Budgeting is going to effect every area of your life in a positive and an enabling way. You will not be burdened with debt, or if you already have debt it won’t be for much longer. You will be able to reach your dreams. You will be able to quit living in fear and anxiety over your bills, and your “lack”. This is the start of a better life, and so this momentary discomfort as you adjust your spending habits and learn to stay within your income is all worth it for what God is going to bring into your life and for what is going to happen in your finances.

So if you find yourself questioning your lack of discipline or using it as an excuse, I hope this will make you reconsider. Ask yourself, are your eyes on your own strength or are they on the Holy Spirit? Is your heart treasuring things, or are you going after God’s purpose for your finances? And if your eyes are on Him, and your heart is set with His purpose, maybe consider that you are just facing the “third day” hump in budgeting. This is the moment for Galations 6:9, “Let’s not get tired of doing what is good, for at the right time we will reap a harvest-if we do not give up.” So keep on going! Day 4 gets easier and you will only get stronger and the path will get easier. And at the end there is a harvest for all of your effort that is going to make you so very glad that you didn’t quit on the third day. So keep on going, and vacation permitting, I will see you tomorrow.