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A common response given by athletes or regular exercisers when asked about the hardest part of working out is “getting started” or “lacing up my sneakers”. It is something I struggled with in the past myself, prior to the revelation of health by grace taught in this blog. I’ve heard several ways to overcome this obstacle, with my favorite being to give yourself just 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes you decide you don’t want to do it anymore, then stop. Generally, once started most people have overcome and are motivated to go on.
The big topic and trend among the fitness industry right now is HIIT, high intensity interval training, and other forms in the same genre that are designed to push your body to the limit, take a small moment to recover, push again, recover, etc. This model is reputed to blast a greater amount of calories in a shorter period of time. In other words, you get more bang for your buck and time.
According to some industry experts, this trend might be getting out of hand. I recently read an article from IDEA Health and Fitness entitled “Extreme Fitness: How Intense Is Too Intense”, that addressed this very issue. In the article, one expert reasons that people strive to push themselves harder than others because it is like a “badge of honor… ties into self-esteem and being proud that you can do a workout that maybe others cannot do.” Another says, “We live in a society where beliefs and values of ‘more is better’ and ‘hard work makes for success’ are interpreted into every action, including exercise.“ I can’t say I disagree that this is the mainstream mindset. In fact, that is why it is labor to enter the rest of Christ (Hebrews 4:11).
Are you just as willing to go out of your way to deny yourself a luxury or rearrange your schedule, because God is asking you to do something that is a bit uncomfortable? May you be ever more willing to endure and persevere in the midst of discomfort and a desire to throw in the towel when the Spirit is telling you to continue.
While I can’t promise you that if you give it 5 minutes, you will want to continue. (In fact, some of the things the LORD has called me to have been extremely difficult for years – “Getting out of hand, Father!?!?” 🙂 ). I can promise you that He will give you strength and everything you need to continue.
“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.” Isaiah 40:31 AMP
As you walk in patient endurance, your muscles of trust are exercised and strengthened. As those faith muscles grow, they move you into further obedience. You begin to see the mighty hand of God moving in more things and hear His voice even more clearly. There is also a sweet fellowship in the midst of suffering, special time with the Lord that is precious and experienced only in persecution and trials. This is time so worth it, that I can personally say I wouldn’t go back and remove the trial if it meant losing it.
Your personal trainer might tell you, “Eight more. You can do it! You want great abs, right?” God says, “Go. Follow Me. One more mile, Beloved.” I pray that you will purpose in your heart to say, “Yes, Lord”, and then go with Him two.
He’s not promising a tighter tush or flawless figure according to the world’s standards, but each time you choose to make another move in step with His Spirit He promises you will look more like Him.
“Fear nothing in the things you’re about to suffer—but stay on guard! Fear nothing!… It won’t last forever. Don’t quit, even if it costs you your life. Stay there believing. I have a Life-Crown sized and ready for you.” ~ Jesus (Revelation 2:10 MSG – Church in Smyrna)
“I know where you live—a place where Satan sits enthroned. [Yet] you are clinging to and holding fast My name, and you did not deny My faith…” ~ Jesus (Revelation 2:13 AMP – Church in Pergamum)
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your love, your faith, your service, and your patient endurance. And I can see your constant improvement in all these things.” ~ Jesus (Revelation 2:19 NLT – Church in Thyatira)
Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.~ Jesus (Revelation 3:10 NASB– Church in Philadelphia)
Wake up and strengthen what remains, which was about to die; for I have found your deeds incomplete in the sight of My God. ~ Jesus (Revelation 3:2 BSB – Harsh rebuke for the Church in Sardis)
“These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation. I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot… You say, ‘I am rich,; I have grown wealthy and need nothing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich… ~ Jesus (Revelation 3: 14-15, 17-18 BSB – Harsh rebuke for the Church in Laodicea)
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold–though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7 NLT