featured image

Andrea Bear learned a valuable lesson from her exercise trainer about the beauty of diligence.

Let’s be honest: doing what’s best for us isn’t always easy. Eating your vegetables, getting enough rest, even prayer and making time for God takes work and discipline. Even with the best intentions, we can fall short of doing what’s best for our health because it's easy to justify shortcuts.

One of my biggest ways of keeping a bad habit is justifying it with a good one. Basically, I will sacrifice my own discipline for the sake of others and think I’m doing a noble thing, when in reality I hold resentment and anger for not doing the things I need. For instance, I put off going to the gym or buying healthy foods if my family cringes at the healthy options or it takes time away from family time. As a mother and wife, I find myself in this cycle over and over, trying to please everyone and ending up pleasing no one.

So, this past February I set out to fix this problem and rejoin my local trainer at the gym. Don’t ask me why I didn’t start in January as with most New Year's resolutions. Maybe I was avoiding the common New Year cycle of “start and give up,” but whatever the case, I decided February was the month.

But before I share about that experience, let’s rewind to the start of the pandemic. While most were contained at home, I needed to do something to stay mental healthy. As many were gaining the “Covid-15” (as I have comically heard it called), I made a goal to get moving so I wouldn’t be in a rut.

Ironically, the pandemic gave me time for this. I found being home gave me more time to prioritize my health. I hired a private trainer and was working out 3 or 4 days a week. Prior to this, my life was a constant hustle of movement and busyness. I’m a full time teacher, parent and active member at my church, so the pandemic—as hard as it was—came at a time where I needed a break. As much as I didn’t like the world being isolated and separate, it provided the opportunity to stop giving so much of myself and take that time for myself and family that I didn’t feel hindered by everyone.


2 women walking with hand weights


This past fall as schools began to reopen and my kids and I returned to the classroom, my exercise stayed behind. I wanted to continue but life had picked up, and as I said earlier I justify giving up good for the sake of others and their schedule. But soon I began to feel awful inside and it affected everything around me. Even time in prayer was difficult because I couldn’t sit still and enjoy the quiet.

As I returned to the bustle of driving kids from school to extracurricular activities, it came to a boiling point when I took my resentment out on my family. I soon discovered they were no happier than I, because my mental state also affected them. Fortunately, my older children (sixteen and thirteen years) are old enough to cook and stay home unsupervised and encouraged me to return to the gym. They even offered to help prepare simple meals and watch their younger sister so I could get back to working out. This was just the encouragement I needed; otherwise I don’t think I would have gone.

But the first day back presented some challenges, and I was second-guessing my decision. Just driving to the gym was a challenge as I had to complete an unexpected parent conference and this felt like a test of my will to follow through. Finally, I got off the phone, already five minutes late into the workout. But upon entering the gym, I was greeted by loud applause. Monica (my trainer) and several others who had continued were celebrating my return.

I looked at Monica and started crying. She said, “You’re here.” And I knew that’s all that mattered.

Click to tweet:
Keep moving forward. That doesn’t mean do it without effort or diligence, but let go of the expectation that it always has to be a certain way. #catholicmom

I would love to tell you I picked right back up and flawlessly continued 3-4 times a week. But truth be told my knees are in pain all the time, my body feels like an 80-year-old and some weeks I’ve only made it once the entire week. But still, I move along.

My trainer Monica gave me some words of advice (without even realizing it) that apply to all aspects of my life. “Don’t worry about how great you are at exercising, just keep moving forward.“ Fill in the blank in this sentence and replace exercise with a million other verbs.

“Don’t worry about how great you are at _____________________, just keep moving forward.”

  • Don’t worry about money, just keep moving forward and save what you can.
  • Don’t worry about your prayers being perfect, just keep praying and moving forward
  • Don’t worry about what you think life will look like, just keep moving forward and God will take care of the rest.
  • Don’t worry about sickness, or illness, just keep believing that God will provide.

Keep moving forward. That doesn’t mean do it without effort or diligence, but let go of the expectation that it always has to be a certain way.

Sometimes I don’t have enough time to do the things I’d really like to do; other times I have no time to even do the things I don’t want to do, but if I keep moving forward then I know I will get there.

But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does. (James1: 25)


One day my kids will be out of the house and I will have more time, but right now I am just moving forward.

Copyright 2022 Andrea Bear
Image: Canva Pro