Stronger

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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

The good and the bad…

I’ve been struggling with my fitness routine lately. I’ve had some bad binge days when it comes to food and some malaise when it comes to exercising. But tonite I fought my way through the second bootcamp class of the week, and I am pleased with how I feel. I am pleased that I worked hard today – at exercise, at eating well and at my vocation.

Some days are bad. Some days are really hard. The trick, I think, is to not allow those days to be overwhelming. To not allow them to be the end of the story. Bad days definitely come, but so do good days. So do days when it is easy to work hard and live up to the goals you’ve set for yourself.

I saw this on pinterest this evening and it made me smile:

I admit, I am not usually thinking of Jesus during my workout. I’m usually thinking of oxygen and the need for more of it. But I like this picture. I believe the words written here.

And when the bad days come, I need to remember this. Because in this statement of purpose, I find hope. And all that is needed to change a bad day into a good day is hope rightly placed.

Back to it!

After the better part of a week without strenuous exercise due to a cold, some nasty stomach pains, and a general exhaustion, I’m so pleased to say that today I am back to it!

I got out for 90min (about 7.5km) of walking with the puppy today, and then did a tough WOD (Workout of the Day) with the Deck of Cards App on my iPhone. My four moves (assigned to each suit of a deck of cards) were: Kettle Bell Goblet Squats, Kettle Bell Reverse Lunges, Leg Raises and Push Ups. I also managed to do two Jokers: one was 15 burpees (pretty sure my form sucked, but by the time I got to this card I was pretty fatigued, so I’m not complaining) and the other was 20 plank climbers (starting out in plank position on elbow and then straightening each arm before returning to elbows). It was a brutal workout, but it felt great.

I have this bad habit sometimes – I tell myself things that aren’t true. I don’t mean that I lie to myself, necessarily… Let me explain. Take the past few days and my lack of exercise, as an example. I told myself I was too tired, it would be too hard, I wouldn’t get through it and one day off wouldn’t make any difference. Now in some ways there was truth in those things…I have been very tired this week, it would be hard (though, I believe, not TOO hard) to do a workout when tired/run down, one day doesn’t make a huge difference in the long run.

At the same time I think I used these things as an excuse to not do something that is good for me. I wonder if we do that when it comes to faith. Do I use the busy-ness of a day as an excuse not to pray or to read my Bible? Do I say to myself I am too tired for this at the end of a day, and go to sleep without involving God in my day? Do I tell myself that one day off is no big deal, and then realize that it has been many days since I spent time with my Heavenly Father?

Sadly – even in the life of a ‘professional’ Christian (i.e. pastor/minister/clergy) like me – the answer to these questions is “yes, sometimes.” And yet I know that if I take the time it will be time well spent. If I just get off my butt and do it, (whether ‘it’ is a workout or spending time with God) I will be thankful I did. I will find life easier to take and have a strength that surprises me.

I guess I just want to say tonight: if you are in one of those excuse-finding periods of your life right now, take a moment. Talk to God. Tell Him what is going on with you. Pull out your Bible and read some of the words of Jesus or a favorite Psalm. Pull out your iPod and listen to a worship song and actually PRAY the words to God as you listen/sing along. Just do it. You will be glad you did.

(Oh, and if you’re in an excuse-finding time right now when it comes to exercise. Get off your butt! Do it! You will be glad you did!)

 

 

Random!

I have had a lot going on lately and could use an early night, so I am doing my blog early. I don’t have a theme for today’s post, just a number of random thoughts. I have one friend who is a blogger who does “Random Thought Thursdays”…I’m sort of stealing her idea (thanks Becky!), but not doing it on a Thursday. Here we go:

1) I have mentioned before how blessed I have been by my colleagues in ministry. This week I have been especially blessed. A lot of really awesome friends-who-are-pastors have given me some of their time. Some have called (Alton! Jeremy!), some I have called (Janet!) and some have had time to grab a bite to eat (thanks Fred!). In each of these encounters I have been deeply blessed and hopefully have found a way to give back some blessing.

2) Haven’t been able to walk as much as I want to because Koski is still recovering from her spay surgery. I have intense guilt about leaving her in her crate in her cone while I go out walking. She FREAKS out. It’s not fun for either of us. So in order to get enough exercise, today I tried a workout from an iPhone app called Cards WOD (WOD stands for Workout Of the Day). It’s a great little program. You assign different moves to the different suits and then it ‘shuffles’ them and you do the number of reps that corresponds with the card value and suit (8 of hearts equals 8 jumping jacks, 2 of spades equals 2 pushups, etc.). Aces are a value of 20 and face cards are a value of 10. The jokers are one-offs that totally suck (50 burpees or 200 double unders). I only did about 80 percent of the work out (and no jokers) today, but it was a good workout. And as I get better at it, I should be able to do it in half an hour.

3) Loving the weather. It is warm and sunny and breezy today. It is supposed to be warm with a surplus of sun. It’s great to feel like the long grey winter is coming to an end. Can’t get enough of Spring!

4) Having coffee with a congregant this evening. It’s hilarious to me how much I look forward to a Skinny Vanilla Latte at Starbucks! Yum!

5) I am doing well on the financial struggle front. I have been able to stick to my budget and make adjustments where necessary. I was very worried about this month because it was time to buy Koski’s food ($100 output, but it feeds her for more than 3 months). But by the grace of God, I’ve been able to adjust the other expenses during the month to absorb this. If things go as expected for the next two weeks, my VISA should be completely paid off for the first time in a couple of years and I will be well on my way to rebuilding the loan I took out of savings to pay off the majority of the VISA. This is awesome, and I am feeling much “lighter” about the whole thing. I like knowing where my money is going and I haven’t felt really deprived of shopping. It’s become a bit of a game to see what bargains I can get when it comes to grocery shopping, as well.