While Julie and I were down in Texas visiting our daughter Emily recently we noticed a recurring symbol that we had never seen before but seemed to be everywhere… a rather simple looking flag with the words Come And Take It.

There’s a cool story behind the Come And Take It flag and how it emerged as an enduring symbol of Texans’ gritty determination and fierce independence.

I believe we could adopt the spirit of the Come And Take It banner when it comes to defending our valuable time and maintaining focus on our priority.  

Here’s a bit of the story behind that banner…

I don’t think many Northerners are even aware of this, but Texas was an independent republic before it was admitted to the Union in 1845 as the 28th state. Texans had fought for and earned their independence from Mexico in 1836.

The spark that ignited the Texas Revolution was a dispute over a tiny cannon the Mexican army had lent to a frontier settlement founded by American colonists. What became known as the Battle of Gonzales wasn’t much more than a skirmish, but it was the first official act of defiance by the restive American settlers against the oppressive authority of the Mexican government and is considered the beginning of the Texas fight for independence.

When a detachment of Mexican soldiers was dispatched to Gonzalez to retrieve the cannon, a band of frontier militia gathered to resist them. Prior to the fight, two women fashioned a flag from a wedding dress with an image of a cannon and the defiant words Come And Take It sewn onto the banner.

That banner and those words have since become a rallying cry of defiance to unjust authority.

Allow it to serve as an example and rally point for us.

In my previous post, we spoke of the imperative of prioritizing our own self-care so that we can better care for those who depend on us.

Taking the time for self-care is critical. Notice that I use the verb to “take”, rather than “find” or “make”. The way I look at it we have to proactively “take” it back from the innumerable distractions, obligations, and rationalizations that conspire to pilfer our time.

Interestingly, there is perfect equality in time. Regardless of all our other abilities and talents, in every given day or week we all have the exact same amount of time.

Nobody can give us more than 24 hours each day and 168 hours every week. But they can take it away, and you can be certain that they will. Unless we guard it diligently, the demands on our time are insatiable.

We’ve all heard the cliche that time is precious. It’s our most priceless asset. Friends and money come and go. Time only goes.

The Essential Intent

And so if we are to remain focused on our essential intent and make progress toward that end we need to take the time and protect it vigorously.

Once we’ve taken it, we need to adopt the same defiant attitude as those Texas settlers did in Gonzales in 1836. We need to hoist our Come And Take It banner and fiercely defend that time.

In that earlier post, I suggested that we make it a practice to schedule our workouts, to actually put them on our calendars. Then, we should hold ourselves to those appointments as if they were obligations to someone important in our lives to whom we are accountable and would never want to let down.

I’ve been using this practice for several years. It works well.


But, like any of our good intentions, there will be days when they come under pressure. Other obligations will nag at us and tempt us to trespass on the time that we’ve set aside to take care of ourselves. We will begin to rationalize how the pressing nature of those duties should bump them higher in our order of priorities.

We can always do the workout later in the day, maybe after work, or even during lunch, or make it up on the weekend. We’ll have time on the weekend and it will probably be better anyway because we always feel stronger and more rested then, so this is actually good. 

This is Resistance, making it’s deceitful appearance again in the form of rationalization.

The original Gonzalez Cannon. Photo credit: Texas State Historical Association

Well, as soon as we recognize that sort of mind game starting to erode our resolve, I suggest we rally around our own figurative Come And Take It banner. It’s then that we need the example of the stubbornly determined Texas settlers and defiantly challenge Resistance, drawing a line in the sand around that time that we have set aside to care for ourselves. Preserve it all costs, like it’s the precious little cannon that the Gonzales settlers wouldn’t surrender.

Because Julie’s Nutrition Coaching is so focused on habit based change, her programs are designed to help us methodically create productive habits that serve our larger purpose, our essential intent, like taking the time to focus on self-care and then protecting that time. She kicks off another small group Nutrition Coaching program in early October. It is timed to finish just before the holiday season, equipping us to deftly navigate through that nutritional minefield. The coaching can be done remotely so it’s open to anybody regardless of where you live. Click here to register to reserve your spot. The cost is $179 for the full six weeks ($149 for our current members).

Thanks so much for your kind support and encouragement!

Be strong and have fun!

Paul Reilly

Paul is the Owner and Founder of MidStrong. He created MidStrong in 2017 to train men and women in midlife who are busy with work and family to build muscle and burn fat so they can look and feel better than they did in their 20’s. MidStrong is making Functional Fitness training safe and fun, and inclusive. He and his wife, Julie also own and operate MidStrong locally, their bricks and mortar business, previously called ACCELERATED Strength & Balance. It is a boutique fitness center specializing in training folks in and around Westborough through the challenges of midlife for more than five years.