About two and a half weeks ago, I decided to participate in a 6 week transformation challenge.
Almost every single thing I have done in this workout/healthy eating plan has made me say “Ouch!” It’s not easy: conscious decisions to make myself stronger, healthier. As I was doing some exercises the other day I thought simply, “This HURTS!”
And I remembered:
Losing hurts. Getting stronger is painful.
Growing is uncomfortable. Stretching is crucial to get yourself ready for the next thing.
Training my body to do things to make it healthier takes commitment. Training my mind and spirit are no different.
As I go through this challenge, I can’t help but see the connection between training physically and training spiritually. Paul certainly talked about it:
“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadow boxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT
Losing weight hurts. Losing people hurts. Losing comfortable habits hurts. Battling my own sinful desires is exhausting. Battling my cravings is brutal. Repetition creates reactions, so I need to be having the right kind: Physically and spiritually. Learning to love more like Jesus is demanding. But just like disciplining my body makes it better, stronger, healthier… my spirit and mind need to be pushed, stretched, and tested.
Some hard things we choose to do because they will improve us in some way. Other times, the difficult things come whether we choose them or not. Either way, God equips us. He provides what we need. His Word is alive and active, fresh every time I read it. He is faithful to guide me through whatever comes.
If you’re hurting, if you feel like you’re losing, if it feels like you can’t stretch any further…. lean into Jesus. He’s strengthening you, growing you, refining you.
“So be truly glad.There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” ~1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT