Well, I did it. I worked out today for the first time in a long while, and it was ugly. While I like to go for walks around the neighborhood, or go on a hike in the forest, those are not what I’m talking about today. I’m talking about the heart-pumping, sweat-dripping, water-guzzling, muscle-shaking kind of workout. Was it an advanced workout? Not in the slightest! Size of my weights? Let’s not even discuss it. I did it though. I took way more breaks than I care to admit and modified the moves so that I could get through them safely, all while entertaining my daughter as she wondered what in the world I was trying to do. At one point, while I was catching my breath, my little personal coach reminded me, “Um mom? The people are still moving, you need to be moving too.” Thank you, child.
On the bright side, I know that tomorrow will be easier. Why? Because once I start doing something and gain momentum, it’s so much easier for me to maintain. The hardest and ugliest part? That first day. Today.
I wish I could say this was the first day I’ve tried to workout. Alas, I’ve been through this routine before. I get started, I stick with it a little while, and then my routine gets disrupted/I don’t see results/my body hurts/I’m tempted to do something way more fun, and I stop. Then time goes by, and something sparks some self-reflection where I don’t like what I see or how I feel, and the cycle starts all over again. Have you ever been in a similar cycle? Maybe it’s not exercise related, perhaps its diet, a relationship, frustrating habits, or even just the fine art of trying to keep organized.
We all have these cycles that seem to be more powerful than our willpower, and left on our own to do it, many of us simply can’t. It doesn’t matter how much I know that gluten is bad for me, when that bread comes fresh out of the oven, warm and crusty and just begging to be slathered with butter, well….my love for bread often triumphs over my system that’s fighting off the gluten. More on that another day.
I’ve skimmed through a couple books that offered a different tactic to accomplishing goals that seem to be caught in a vicious cycle…what if we brought God into this? In my case, what if I asked God to join me in this journey as my personal trainer?
I must admit, when I first heard of that, I laughed out loud! The God of heaven and earth, spending time with me, helping me get off my bottom and into gear? Surely the Almighty couldn’t be bothered with something so insignificant in the scheme of things! Our literature these days sure is getting creative! However, as I continued to ponder it over time, I felt God giving me The Mom Face. You know the one? When your child just said something completely ridiculous, slightly disrespectful, and completely telling of how little they understand you? Yup. That one.
You see, there’s more at stake here than dusting off the yoga mat. Our loving Father always has and will be after our hearts. If there is something that is causing us to feel repeatedly defeated, unworthy, incomplete, a failure… that is absolutely a God matter.
We were not created to feel overpowered, but to feel empowered as children of our Heavenly Father.
There is one who does want us to remain forever in the spin cycle, who loves nothing more than to whisper into our depths that we are not good enough, that we don’t hold value, that it’s not surprising we have failed yet again. I promise you dearest friend, those are not loving words from our Great Comforter, but the lies from the slithering enemy. There is a battle going on, and it extends beyond the forces of gravity and the embarrassingly light yet still challenging dumbbells I’m trying to lift. It’s the battle over us, the One who created us, versus the one who wants to steal us away. This is not a battle we were meant to fight alone, and this cycle we find ourselves in time and time again, this is just a tactic from the one who is against us.
Take up your shield of faith dearest ones, you have Yahweh Sabaoth on your side, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
The same God who delivered David from Goliath, is ready to fight alongside you as well. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. (Psalm 46:7 NLT).
What is your Goliath these days? Is there a giant that is looming over you, casting a long shadow of doubt and defeat upon you? Have you called upon the Lord of Heaven’s Armies to fight beside you and ahead of you? Perhaps you’re battling weariness, this world sure has thrown a lot our way in the last few years. Perhaps your battlegrounds are fairly clear, but you are busy praying for your loved ones who need to be lifted up in every way they can. My battlegrounds aren’t just on my yoga mat, but in my heart, spirit, and mind…the places where my desires combat my justifications. Sometimes there is victory, and sometimes not, but I’m not going to forfeit. There is too much at stake.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the rock and strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26 AMP)
Yahweh Sabaoth, you know my struggles, and how easily something seemingly so small can make me feel crushed in no time. Remind me that these battlefields, whether over exercise equipment or anything else, are an opportunity for me to call to you, to draw closer to you, to fight beside you. Help me to see these battles for what they are, and respond in the same way for myself, as I would if something was trying to steal the joy from my own children. Lord, I know that same fury I can feel as a mom, is how you feel when I am under attack. I pray for my reader who is also on the frontlines. While our giants may not be the same, I know they have equal importance to you, and you are there for us, calling upon Heaven’s Armies to lift us up. I am so thankful we are not alone in this, and I praise you for this reminder. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.