By KRISTAN DOOLEY
Lets face it, exercise isn’t easy. If I’m pushing myself to the limit and stepping forward into things I couldn’t previously do, hard is a word I mustn’t run from. A burpee will never be something I’m excited about doing, but they will always be something I’m glad I’ve done.
Here’s why I’m okay with hard and why I don’t expect or need it to change. The truth is, I actually signed up and paid for working out to be hard. I pay for a trainer because I expect to be challenged, pushed to my limits and uncomfortably stretched. I want to burn five hundred calories an hour and sweat right through my shirt. I like the sting of the burn. I don’t mind a little soreness when I wake up in the morning. I actually feel a tinge of satisfaction with it.
In Corinthians, Paul shows us that he gets this concept as well. He knew pain would bring about better gain. “Do you not
Even after years of exercise, it’s not easy. I still have to show up, stay committed and work hard. But from this place of health, I find the strength to continue doing hard things and thus continue to increase my strength and endurance that will ultimately prepare me for even harder things in the future.
The same concept is true for our faith journey. Some live with the hope that one-day faith will be easier. They wait for the moment they no longer have to uncomfortably stretch to reach His invitation into the unknown. And although your faith grows and your ability to activate it will come more quickly over time, there is always going to be an invitation to press into the hard and develop stronger faith muscles. Easy is not a word used often to describe growth.
If faith were easy then it wouldn’t take faith.
Faith is based on being in over your head, and growth is about change. They are basically about risk and challenge, doing things you don’t’ know how to do, believing in what you cannot see, experiencing what you you’ve never known.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT Health is not a means to an end. We don’t do it to arrive somewhere so we can then stop. It’s a lifestyle. If it’s not something we do as a means to an end, then there must be a way to do it in which the hardness of it doesn’t overshadow the goodness from it. Along the way I’ve learned a few things from both the gym and the church. These three things make a significant difference in my ability to keep the faith when tension rises.
First, find good leaders. “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith,” (Hebrews 13:7.) Are those you follow leading you in the right direction? Second, find good people. “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” (Proverbs 27:17.) You become like the people you spend the most time with, so spend time with the people you want to be like. “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrews 10:19.) A good gym makes all the difference. So does a faith driven, discipleship focused place of worship. You were created to do hard things. The right people and the right places are a key part of the right growth.
PRAYER Father, thank You that I was created in Your image. Thank You for being my strength builder. Thank You for developing, growing and stretching me, even when it’s hard. I know it comes from a place of great love. Help me to keep my focus not on what’s hard, but on the good You will achieve from it. You are always faithful to me, Papa. Thank You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.