There Is No Secret to Starting

I used to think there was. I still want there to be one, if we’re being honest—some secret method to get started on important to-dos and make sure important projects keep moving along.

But there isn’t.

There are things we can do to make the process easier, of course. We can modify our environment or set a schedule or break bigger tasks into manageable, bite-sized chunks. Those things help. But the actual process of starting—the first step forward, the turning of the key, the plunge off the diving board—has no secret. It’s something Nike figured out a long time ago:

“Just do it.”

Take the step. Turn the key. Jump off the board.

We can plan as much as we like—we can assess variables and talk about efficiency versus quality and engage in all the other endless debates that can so easily get us bogged down in navel-gazing self-analysis—but none of that will ensure we take the actual first step. None of that will ensure we get up in the morning and do the work.

Just do it.

That’s the big dirty non-secret. At a certain point in time, it boils down to the simple question of, “Are you going to put one foot in front of the other, or aren’t you?”

I’ve been in a bit of a spiritual slump lately, which is the main reason for the lack of posts since early December. That’s pretty embarrassing to admit, but I suspect I’m not the only one who’s been there—or is currently there. Fridays keep rolling around, and I keep thinking, “Oh no! I have nothing to post on Sabbath Thoughts! …Again!”

I have excuses. There are always excuses. Life has been pretty busy lately. I’ve had to do a lot of work on the car lately—brakes, rotors, oil change, wheel studs, that sort of thing. We’ve had a lot of end/beginning of year forms to track down and submit—tax stuff, insurance things, all that jazz. And while I don’t mind letting myself off the hook with writing these posts during an especially busy week (or month), none of those excuses are the real reason I’ve been lagging behind.

The real reason is I’ve stopped starting. You know; you’ve been there. My Bible study habits have been hot garbage lately… because I’m always going to get to it later. There’s always a thing that feels more urgent or I care more about. I talk about doing it, I think about doing it, I plan to do it—but in the end, I don’t do it. I’ve been letting the thorns of life get in the way of talking to and listening to the God of all creation.

I keep hoping I’ll find the secret to guarantee I’ll get it done on a regular basis, but I already know the secret.

Just do it.




So. That’s what I’m going to do. And I’m telling you all this for two reasons—first, so I have witnesses. I’m not spiritually where I want to be right now, so I’m going to work on that, and now you’ve all heard me and I can’t just say I’ll work on it later. Second, it’s an invitation. Like I said, I really doubt I’m the only one wrestling with starting—so come on, let’s do this together.

I started a Bible reading program some weeks back. I started late and I’ve already missed quite a few days, but so what? Today is another chance to start. Tomorrow is, too. And the day after that. And every day for the rest of ever. The calendar turns over to another day, and we’re left with a new slate and a new chance to get started. So if you’re not already studying every day—or if you already are but you’d like a little more structure in your process—grab a reading plan and get started. Life Hope & Truth has some pretty useful ones (I recommend the Chronological Bible Reading Plan or, if you’re interested in a different approach to studying, the Scripture Writing Challenge). I’ve personally been working through the Thematic Reading Plan from Bible Study Tools, and it’s really helping me to look at a lot of familiar scriptures in a new light.

One of Solomon’s proverbs says, “The lazy man buries his hand in the bowl; it wearies him to bring it back to his mouth” (Proverbs 26:15). That can’t be us. God’s Word is the food we need to keep going (Matthew 4:4), but no one is going to spoon-feed us. Every day, we have to choose to start, or it just won’t happen. We’ll leave our hands in the bowl day after day, wondering why we’re so hungry.

Take the step. Turn the key. Dive.

Just do it.

I hope you all have a wonderful Sabbath day—and if you’ll excuse me, I have some neglected Bible study I need to go take care of.

Until next time,

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