Henry Ward Beecher reminds us, "We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started." A thing we often forget is that every journey requires a starting point. We sometimes get all caught up in the journey and forget from whence we came. We see the 'finish line', but completely disregard we had to cross the 'starting line' to even be on our way to the 'finish'.
I have not always traveled in a straight course - veering on occasion into places where complacency take me without even noticing. I have resumed my course on occasion without much effort, but at others I have found the effort it takes to resume when I have stopped is harder than I want it to be. Think about the last time you got away from a healthy eating plan. Now, think about how hard it was those first couple of weeks to get back on it. The 'starting' is hard, but the 'starting again' is even harder. Why?
It may be because we equate having to start again to failure. We didn't keep going, so we think we failed. The starting line never moved - neither did the finish line. We just got off-course a little and all we need to do is re-enter the path! My foot isn't always securely on the course he would desire me to take, but he knows the course I am traveling. Is it that he didn't 'keep me' from complacency? No, it is that I chose complacency because it was easier!
How do we re-enter when we have drifted from course? Well, I think it is requires us to realize where we started to begin with, then where we will start again, and where that finish line lies. We look to where we started because it reminds us we really did come a good ways before we veered off-course. We look at where we will re-enter the course because it is a milestone (a marker) of where we chose again to 'enter into' obedience. We look to the finish line because it helps us remain 'forward focused'.
God knows your course as well as he knows mine. He has prepared for us to re-enter the course exactly where we veered from it in the first place. The thing we need to remember is that we take the first step back onto that course! He doesn't take it for us. Yes, he is right there to help us back up, giving us the wherewithal to actually move again, but we take the first step back onto the course! Let's not forget where we started, but let us also not expect 'excellence' every step of the way. We get distracted on occasion and need to remember God's grace is enough for us to re-enter right where we left off. Just sayin!