In an effort to be a healthier me, and I admit that I want to get ready for bathing suit season, I’ve begun working out regularly. For the first time in my life, I’m enjoying it. Forever, as far back as middle school (junior high back in the day) I have hated all forms of exercise. No exceptions. Well, volleyball was tolerable. Since I married a gym rat, an actual person who loves to work out, I have spent more than twenty years watching him enjoy what I hate. All that to say, this is kinda nice, enjoying a good workout.
So the other day I’m working through a leg routine. I’m on a step thing – don’t know what you call it – and I’m doing these lifts. I stand with half of both feet on the edge and lift up. I wasn’t doing that many reps, so one day I thought I would try more. Sure enough, after adding five, I felt this burn in my hiney, so of course I stopped. That’s what any true exercise avoider would do, stop when you feel the burn. The next time I did those same exercises, I did enough to feel the burn and stopped again. A few minutes later, when I was on the treadmill, I thought about the fact that I stopped at the burn and decided the next time to go beyond it. I did, and surprisingly, it didn’t kill me. I was sure it would.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never be a gym rat and will likely only do enough to get by most times. I’ve spent more time today looking for a fan for my little home gym than I have on weights. But I have learned something significant through this. I need to go beyond the burn for the workout to be truly effective. To that end, I’m doing more reps, and for cardio, I’m increasing the incline and speed in practical intervals. I’m feeling the burn daily now.
As I do with most all things, I see a spiritual connection. Sometimes what we read in Scripture burns. It says we shouldn’t do something we love doing, or it may say you should do something you’ve been dragging your feet about for years. I learned years ago, for Christian growth to occur and for me to actually be more like Jesus, I have to go beyond the burn of what’s comfortable. I have had to give up activities I like and attitudes that have served me well over my years of taking care of number one. I have learned to forgive the unforgiveable and love the unlovable. Neither of those things are easy. What I gained from going beyond the burn, however, is always worth the discomfort, worth the pain in my hiney. I can think of no situation ever where God has asked me to do or not to do something and I find myself later regretting it. On the contrary, I can give numerous examples how going beyond the burn in my spiritual life has reaped great reward and produced surprising fruit.
Okay, now you. I’m not trying to talk you into working out. Do it or don’t. What I am encouraging you to do is this: Go beyond the burn in your Christian faith. Even when it feels scary, follow where He leads. If He prompts you to give up a relationship or habit, trust that it’s for your good. If He leads you to have a conversation that’s totally outside of what is comfortable for you, go beyond the burn of embarrassment or shyness and have that conversation. In all areas going beyond the burn will lead to a more effective you.
Not that this applies in any way, but yesterday I saw a sign for a home gym that said, “Sweat is fat crying.” I might get that along with the fan. 🙂
Peace and Joy to you today,