Treadmills are a great way to get legs worked up and exercised. It’s all the cardio minus the heat and pollution. With upbeat music filling your ears, nothing can stop you. 

Treadmills are all about feeling like you’re going somewhere without actually “going anywhere.” You’ve ran a distance, but in reality, you’ve never left your spot.

Treadmills reflect an interesting reality. Life can be like a treadmill—you put in work over and over, but you don’t achieve anything. How can we avoid ending up with a “treadmill life”?

Consider

Have you ever found yourself doing things, but never really stopped to wonder why you actually do them? Have you ever asked yourself why you do what you do again and again, day in and day out? 

Made you think a little, right?

We are curious by nature. And perhaps man’s deepest curiosity is the search for meaning behind why we exist—both individually and as a whole humanity. 

In order to find the answer to this question, you need to train yourself to ask the question “why,” especially when it comes to the things you do.

To explain this further, questions are based on three categories: details (what, when, and where), process (how), and meaning (why). Each kind of question helps us understand things.

When we don’t know the meaning behind what we do, we can get too caught up with the details and neglect the real purpose. When we’re too focused on the process, life becomes very mechanical, and we end up living a treadmill life.

Why do you go to school? “To finish my studies.”

Why do you want to graduate? “To get a job and be successful in my career.”

Why do you want to be successful? “To earn money, build a good future for my family, and achieve my dreams.”

When we ask the question why, we realign the details and the process in such a way that things make more sense.

Consider: Why do you do what you do? What are you trying to achieve?

When the purpose and meaning are clear, you’ll find greater passion to do things and find greater clarity about the direction you’re taking.

However, in order for you to even start considering these things, you often have to wade through so much activities and distractions. So you will need to pause.

Pause

Think for a moment. When was the last time you actually paused to breathe? Was it just yesterday? A week ago? A month ago? If it was long ago or if you can’t even remember your last breather, I strongly urge you to read on. 

Every breath we take is an infusion of oxygen that helps sustain our bodies. The moment we stop breathing, our bodies begin to fail. The physical reflects the emotional, spiritual, and mental. Each of these components comprise our well-being.

Could it be that we’ve been so caught up in the doing that we forget to pause?

Sometimes the world makes us feel bad when we stop. But actually, the world will not stop when we stop. 

The truth is, we need to stop and breathe. Every breath is a pause. In each pause is space. In that space we get to think, reflect, and evaluate.

Reflect

With all that in mind, let’s reflect on one of the hard questions: Why do we do what we do again and again, day in and day out?

There are those who have answered this question with a long and detailed explanation, complete with a timeline and target milestones. On the other hand, there are those who just shrug and say, “I just go with the flow.” 

These are two extremes that we must avoid.

The first extreme could lead to a life that is centered around achievements and performance. When things don’t go as planned, you could end up thinking you aren’t worth anything. It could lead you to think that your entire being—including your mind and emotions—rises and falls on your capacity to reach those milestones in the deadlines you set for yourself. If it works, you’re the best. If it doesn’t, you’re the worst.

What if the plans you’ve set have been wrecking you more than making you? Now what? How heavy must that feel.

The second extreme, on the other hand, could lead to a life that has no clear goal and direction.

Jesus comes into the picture to offer a life that is neither of the two extremes. He defines us and gives us purpose.

Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

First, you are a human being; not a “human doing.”

Let not your activity define your identity. Instead, let your identity propel your activity. May all that we do be an expression of being children of God instead of doing things to earn the status of being a child of God. Being anyone’s child can never be earned.

Second, you are destined for good works.

Our motivation to work hard, excel, and succeed flows from our identity as God’s children. Because we are His workmanship, our goal is to walk in His purpose, which He had prepared for us beforehand—to do good works.

Why do we do what we do again and again, day in and day out?” Because we are His children, created for a good purpose.

May this take you away from the treadmill life. There’s more to life than just doing. Start being.

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