Source…

???????????????????????????????????????

I’ve been struggling with the cold-that-will-not-end for most of this new year. Being sick has wreaked havoc on my gym schedule. In the fall, I went 5 days a week, almost every week. But since the New Year, I have only had one 5-day week.

Today was the first day I made it to the gym in about two weeks time. Understandably, I’ve lost ground as far as my workout routine goes. It was harder to lift what I had been lifting before I got sick. As I worked out today, I sweated more, I was out of breath more, and I trembled more. One of the things that is often heard in the classes I take at the gym is the encouragement to keep going, even when your muscles are screaming for a break. That is the point where you’re really starting to sculpt your body – to make a real difference in the strength of your muscles. So often, our instructors tell us to mentally “power through the pain.” I did a lot of that today, more than I have had to do in a while.

But the thing is, when you do keep going despite screaming muscles, you discover that you CAN keep going despite screaming muscles. Your legs won’t actually fall off, just keep moving. Willpower can overcome the weariness.

But it is different if you are dealing with spiritual weariness. Willpower alone cannot overcome spiritual fatigue. This is why I look for ways to connect to God, daily. Whether it is a quiet moment of prayer, some time spent reading the Bible, conversations with those who share my faith, or a time of corporate worship. I need those moments to refresh my spirit, to renew my faith.

Paul wrote this to the church in Corinth:

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NLT

When I try to keep going once I am spiritually weary, I fail. Because the source of strength is outside of myself. The source of my strength is the Living God of the Universe – one who is outside of time, one who is all-present, all-knowing and all-powerful. To try to keep going on my own strength, means going somewhere other than the SOURCE.

In my gym example, if I tried to keep going based on the way my muscles feel in that making-a-difference zone, I would fail. The source of my strength in that moment is my mind, my willpower.

It is so important that we connect with the source of our strength. That we remember when we are weak, God is strong. That we rely on His strength and allow it to flow through us. Then we will not grow weak, and we will not stumble.

Back to it. Like, for reals..

So many of you know that I hurt my foot last week. (You know this because I am an Olympic-gold-medal complainer when I am sick or injured. This is probably something I should work on, but there are so many other things on that list, and only so many hours in a day.) The really frustrating thing about the injury was that it happened when I was doing something so mundane and average that I didn’t even remember doing it afterward. I am of the belief that if one hurts oneself it should be because of an event that was momentous enough to be remembered. Yeesh.

Anyway, because of the foot injury I was not able to get back to the gym like I had hoped last week. In fact, I wasn’t even able to go for a decent walk for a number of days. Now, at another time of the year, I might have just grinned and thought: oh well, I am going to have to take it easy for a few days…that’s not so bad. But at this particular juncture I was more than a little frustrated. You see, I chose to be fairly (read: incredibly) lazy during my summer holiday. I decided this vacation would be a true break from all of the things I have been disciplined about in the last year. I didn’t track my Weight Watchers points, I didn’t exercise with anything resembling regularity, I just took it easy. And that was a good thing on the one hand: I had been severely struggling to stick to my WW points in the weeks leading up to holidays. Having the break was apparently just what I needed to get back on track: in the past week I haven’t had any issue sticking to my points. Sometimes, you just need a rest.

On the other hand, I lost ground over my vacation. I gained weight and I lost muscle. While being laid up with the foot injury I began to gain some ground on the weight (down 3.5lbs when I weighed in on Sunday thankyouverymuch), but I couldn’t do much about the muscle. Today, I am very pleased to say, I was able to return to the gym. I did a 60min BodyPump class. It was tough. I couldn’t believe how tough it was! But it was also good. My muscles (such as they are), are pleasantly fatigued. I am sure they will be telling me off tomorrow. But I know that today I took another step towards improving my health. Another step towards getting back on track. Another step away from just talking (read: whining) about the ground I have lost in the past few months, and towards actually regaining that ground. I feel strong and I feel accomplished.

I write this down now, because I know in another few months/weeks/whatever something will happen andI will need to be reminded of what this feels like. And I hope some of my friends may point me back to these words.

Any journey has its ups and downs. The ups are usually pretty easy to deal with. The downs are when we need friends to surround us and to speak the truth we cannot utter ourselves. I believe that is why Jesus gave us the church. Because He knew there would be times when we needed each other. When we just couldn’t do it on our own. When the strength of another would be the thing that gave us the ability to keep going.