When I was a teenager during the summer, my dad set up a job for me to paint the roof. I was all excited about the possibility of making some money and putting it in the bank. Mind you, I lived in a town of 200 including the cats and dogs. No retail stores. No Home Depots. No Scottsdale Fashion Square Malls. No Apple Stores. You get the picture. There was nothing to spend my money on so I saved it. All of it. Back to the story. Dad gave me directions as to how he wanted the roof painted. The first step was the removal of loose paint (obstacles) before the painting could begin. There was a lot of loose paint. If the obstacles weren’t removed, painting over the loose paint would eventually break off and the roof would be left with places bare of paint. Removing the obstacles. Sometimes the obstacle is very difficult to remove from our lives. It takes a lot of effort to remove the obstacle, but very necessary in order to get the desired result.
I had a similar experience this morning when I was working out, but a quite different obstacle. No I wasn’t painting a roof. I was going to work out on the elliptical, do some rowing and sit in the sauna after lifting some weights. I put on my music, set up the elliptical and began to step. One problem. My music from my cell phone continued to change in the middle of the song. It happened with three of the first songs and I recognized what was taking place. The keys next to the phone were bumping up against the phone and changing the song. The keys became an obstacle to listening to the music I usually work out with. I had to remove the obstacle in order to listen fully to each song. Once the obstacle was removed I had a wonderful workout.
How many obstacles interrupt our ability to do the things that we want to do? For some, alcohol can become an obstacle that causes interference in building strong family connections. When we focus too much on the stock market, it robs us of the joy of enjoying what we have. Shopping can become an obstacle and cause us to dwell on things becoming our contentment rather than being contented with what we have. Focusing so much on accomplishing tasks set before us can cause us to lose perspective of what is important (building relationships with God and with others). A small obstacle might be the TV that causes us to focus on the program rather than connect with our spouse or children. Mind you, I’m not talking about the upcoming Broncos versus Panthers Super Bowl game. These are just a few examples of obstacles that can rob us of the joy of living life to the fullest when we spend an inordinate amount of time on them.
On this journey, there are invariable obstacles that come into play as we walk this road. Removing the obstacles while keeping your focus on the goal will keep us free of getting bogged down in the mundane.