Prayer #136: Flagged

The other day, I was standing in front of the office bathroom mirror and raised my arms over my head to fix my hair. That's when I saw them: the Italian flags.

For those not in the know, Italian flags are oh-so-attractive waddles of skin that appear under your triceps. They wiggle and jiggle whenever they feel like. Light breezes flap them. They are nature's way of telling Italian women that we might as well dress all in black and stop bleaching our mustaches because it's all downhill from here.

I'm not surprised they appeared. I've been struggling to maintain a steady exercise schedule this past year, and I can feel my body slowly shifting as a result.

I don't kid myself -- I've never been buff -- but I at least felt like I was keeping the pulls of time and gravity in check and my systems in good working order.

Then a job search and a new job and travel and allergies and excuses took over, and the workout routine fell right off my radar.

You know where it went? To Italy. To find those flags.

In this respect, Italian flags are the worst kind of reminder. They're the kind that pinpoints exactly what you've been neglecting, advertises exactly where you've been failing. And then they literally slap you in the face when you try to exercise to fix the situation.

I'm not a fan.

So today's prayer is about acknowledging restraints beyond your control and focusing on factors that are. It's for all the things you sometimes have to put off until you're ready to commit again. It's about self-awareness, discipline, and forgiveness.

Because this is one set of flags I'm not quite ready to fly yet.

Prayer #136: Flagged

I've flagged a problem, Lord.

My get-up-and-go got up and went. My balance toppled. My drive parked. So now my inner propeller is a spiral.

At what point do I drag myself beyond the flagging enthusiasm and do what's best for me in the long-term? Or at what point do I cease the self-flagellating and do what's best for me in the short-term?

God of cycles, help me discern Your terms. Advise me on how to invest my time, energy, and willpower so I emerge in optimum shape to serve You.

And please be flagrant about it. Clearly, I need a kick in the pants.