Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer.
Put your principles into practice – now. Stop the excuses and the procrastination. This is your life! You aren’t a child anymore. The sooner you set yourself to your spiritual program, the happier you will be. The longer you wait, the more you’ll be vulnerable to mediocrity and feel filled with shame and regret, because you know you are capable of better.
From this instant on, vow to stop disappointing yourself. Separate yourself from the mob. Decide to be extraordinary and do what you need to do – now.
Epictetus (philosopher who lived just after Christ), quoted in "Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness" by Sharon Lebell, HarperOne, June 2007
It's interesting that we often know that the results of doing good things will leave us healthier and happier, yet we struggle now with doing those exact things. For instance, I have a hard time giving up certain foods and treats, but I know I will be better off if I do.
Why is that? Is the lure so strong? Or is it just a habit or automatic? Is it because I want to feel good eating those things right now and I don't care about feeling better in the future? Is it because I don't know exactly IF I'll feel better in the future if I sacrifice now, so why go through that anguish?
Like anything worth having, it's an investment now for a return on that investment later. We have to get out of this "immediate" or "instant gratification" mindset that we have been trained to expect. It only leads to disappointment and regret when we don't get what we want in the moment....or when we do get what we want, we realize we didn't really want that.
Spiritually speaking, though, there is one difference from that of physical or financial or temporal wants....as soon as we put in that investment to God and His Kingdom, we will immediately start seeing a return, or results. The results may not come all at once or how we expect them to come, but we will see results, enough to motivate us to keep going. Keep going until we reach greatness and, then, still keep going.