Should you listen to those who say “lighten up” ?

Recently, I was with someone who was sharing with me about their pursuit of excellence in the area of personal health.  I was impressed with his focus on consistently exercising and his understanding of the need for a healthy diet.
What I also found  interesting in our discussion was his comment that many people he interacts with have suggested for him to “lighten up”. What they were saying to him was “why put yourself through all the sacrifices and depriving yourself of “fun and enjoyable” things–you don’t need to do this.”
Setting personal goals in all seven areas of responsibility is vital if you are serious about “striving for excellence in all the areas of responsibility in your life so that you will live a life of no regrets”.  But be aware, very aware that not all those closest to you will share in your passion for personal excellence. In fact, your pursuit of it, may be a reminder to them that, just maybe, they are  not as focused as you, and that they should be paying more attention to making improvements.   It can actually lead to them to becoming quite defensive and looking more at themselves, rather than encouraging you in your desires.
I’m not suggesting you  abandon your friendships, but I do want to have you exercise caution in your relationships because  they can be distracting and, at times, discouraging to your pursuit of those things that you desire most.
Very few things of worth ever come without sacrifice and intentionality. Be wise to your environment and the temptations that offer distractions to the passions you desire .
I also mention this word to Christians that this world system has core values totally divergent from your own. Be  mindful of that.  Seek God’s wisdom to govern your attitudes and actions and enjoy the sweet fellowship of like-minded believers to keep you encouraged and focused on your walk with Christ.
Lastly, I want to pass along an illustration to help further give you a vision for what I’m describing.  Think about having a work out.  Think about how hard it is to want to keep doing five more reps, or to swim three more laps, or to run four more laps. When you vividly feel the burn, everything seems to scream out to you to stop and put an end to the pain, but you know in your gut that you need to press on and fight to the finish.  How encouraging it is to have a good friend who can encourage you to keep pressing on and who is there, after you have finished all your reps or laps is there to celebrate with you for finishing strong.
Keep focused.
Set goals that stretch and move you in the direction you know, deep down you want to be trending toward.
Don’t give in to those voices in you, or around you that shout out   to “lighten up”, or “go ahead, everyone else is doing it”, or “go ahead, you deserve it”.
Find supporters who can encourage you.

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