When I stepped on the bathroom scales the other day I was confident it would show I had dropped a couple of pounds, but – alas! – the scales tipped in the other direction. I had in fact gained a couple, and that is not good news especially since I am scheduled for a checkup later this week with my doctor. He will not be pleased. What happened, how could I have gained weight? I’ve been exercising regularly and vigorously, and . . . well, yeah, but maybe I’ve been a little over-indulgent with the desserts lately, and enjoying the cuisine from our new kitchen – a little too much. But I deserve that, don’t I? It was a stressful fall. We moved, our new granddaughter was born, and in the midst of all that I experienced a life-threatening medical event. I’ve simply been rewarding myself, that’s all – except that what started out as celebration has drifted off into bad habit.
The over-indulging and subsequent weight gain is only the symptom, though, of a more serious issue – complacency. It has crept into my life ever so slowly and quietly. I never even knew it until I stepped on the scales the other day. It slipped up and caught me by surprise, but that’s what complacency does.
Complacency may be one of the most dangerous of human conditions. It causes us to fall asleep at the switch, to let our guard down, not pay attention. What’s worse – like what happened to me – complacency is not an obvious condition; it is instead subtle and creeps up on us attacking from behind. It is a silent killer that can cause marriages to fail, businesses to decline or collapse, battles to be lost, countries to become vulnerable to surprise attack, or pounds to accumulate around one’s waistline.
As far as I can tell there is only one preventative for complacency and that is accountability. Either we must have enough discipline to hold ourselves accountable or we need another human being to hold us accountable. It is one of the great challenges I struggle with being self-employed after having worked for a boss most of my life. But what do we do when complacency does creep into our lives? There is only one antidote that I know of and that is humility, the type of humility that will issue a wake-up call – like the one I’ll surely receive later this week from my doctor.