Gasping for air. Sweating profusely. Trying with all I had to not die. Thinking in my mind, “How in the world did I get to this place?”
It had all started innocently enough. A donut with my coffee. A burger through the drive-thru because I hadn’t had enough foresight to prepare for supper. Some chips on our family movie nights – which ended up being every night, which resulted in no time to burn off those carbs. All those things led me to this dark place! When trying the workout that I had previously been able to breeze through, I found myself dying! I had a partner in crime though, my husband was in just as bad shape standing beside me. We decided that perhaps we needed to start with a beginner program, once again, and build up our endurance, again, to try to achieve the level of fitness we had once attained.
We chose a dance type workout. This was clearly my choice as my husband relates his dancing skills to that of a board, and I felt we were killin’ it until I heard giggling that turned into all out belly laughing coming from the steps.
“What in the world are you doing mommy?” asked my inquisitive six- year old, who, by the way, can find the rhythm in any song. She found it hilarious that her mother and father were trying to hip hop their way to health and well being. It’s a really good thing that we both have developed a tolerance for the unmeaning insults we receive from our small children, we just invited her to join us, which she happily did. She also learned the moves before we did.
The thing about this that is hard for me to take is that this situation is the direct result of making bad choices. We were once in a place where we were strong and fit, having reduced blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure. We felt fabulous, with renewed youth and vigour, and yet, here we were again, at the beginning of another quest for health. Why did we allow this to happen? How did we really allow ourselves to get back into this place once again?
Truth be told, faith is like this. It’s like a muscle, a healthy lifestyle. It takes work to develop it, intention to maintain it, and some stress to grow it. The Apostle Paul knew the importance of physical fitness, its relationship to successfully winning a race and often used athletics as a comparison to the Christian life. One instance is found in Hebrews 12 where before this, in chapter 11, he gives is examples of people who had great faith. Paul writes, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.
Greek athletes spent ten months in training for a contest. They had to do the prescribed exercises and was placed on a strict diet. What an incredible parallel!
Just like we need to train our bodies to be healthy (which also means putting down the donuts, chips, and burgers), If we are to grow in deep in our faith we need to lay aside things that will hinder its growth and train it! The athlete had to do the prescribed exercises. We too need to exercise; our minds by reading the Word, our wills by submitting to and obeying, and our faith by trusting God’s promises to us in the Word. The athlete was on a strict diet: our diet must be the Bread of Life and the Living Water!
God’s Word tells us not to live by our feelings, they change so quickly, but to live by the Truth that He speaks to us. If He asks you to do something that will exercise your faith, to stretch it and cause it to grow, then whether you feel like it or not, do it! Trust in the process and allow His peace to guard your heart and mind, look only to His direction, and stand amazed at the outcome. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen. I trust the process on my journey to better physical health, I trust that healthy habits will change my sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure numbers. I can’t see the changes right away, but eventually I reap the reward of that. I have faith in what I can’t see happening.
God wants to use you to do amazing things, and each situation you face that requires you to step forward in faith brings you closer to realizing His future for you!