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Last night I had the opportunity to do something I haven’t done in many years: I played Capture the Flag (look it up, it’s a simple game). This involved a lot of running and chasing and running. And despite my hope of getting in “jail” and therefore having a time out, I guess I was a little too good at the game, because it wasn’t until about the last quarter that I actually got that break.

Today, my whole body aches. My abs, my thighs, my right heel pad, my hip flexers…I’m pretty sure the shoulders are due to a class at the gym, but they ache, too.

I’ve toyed with the idea of taking up running, but I’ve never actually done it. And based on the results of last night I am not sure I ever will.

But I will say this for myself – despite all the aches and pains today, I was able to walk for 90min with my dog and do a Combat cardio class at the gym this evening. This is a sign of progress for me. I used to think I any little hurt or discomfort as a reason not to get any exercise. The pain/discomfort I am feeling today is the kind that means you’ve worked hard, but not the kind that means you need to stop because you are doing damage to yourself. It could have been an excuse not to work hard today. I am glad that I didn’t allow it to be that. I am growing and learning in this fitness journey.

You know, I am learning a similar lesson in terms of the community of faith where I serve. Occasionally – and probably without intent – people say or do things that are hurtful to me. And it could be an excuse to pull back from that individual or from the community as a whole. Certainly, that is what I would have done in my first couple of years of ministry. But the longer I serve in this capacity, the more able I am to take a long hard look at those injuries and decide whether they are just ‘growing pains’ or something more serious that needs some attention in order to heal. More often than not, they are growing pains – things that will teach and help develop my ministry skills, but anything that should be used as an excuse.

I love knowing that God is working on me, God is making me stronger…both in body and in spirit.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4 NIV

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