Week Twenty Six
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Quote from Pray While You’re Prey:
“There are times when we need to be all by ourselves, so that God can get through to us. I am still learning to accept that.”
At least three or four times a week, I see a Living Social or Groupon offer for a discounted workout opportunity. There are usually offers for yoga or Pilates classes, or maybe a 5-week boot camp, or some even offer for you to pick a combination. I have never really been an athletic person. I love watching sports, but the fact that I hate sweating pretty much hinders any actual playing of sports. I have come up with pretty much every excuse in the world as to why I do not work out.
I have gone through different weight cycles in my life. First, I was a stick figure until I was about 22. Then, I got married and gained about 20 pounds. Then, I got divorced and I lost 185 pounds (that’s a joke; you can laugh). I actually lost about 25 pounds. It’s amazing what stress, not eating and going to the gym way too much will do. Eventually, when the whole divorce was settled and I was comfortable in my own skin, I gained back the weight I had lost, plus some. Every time I gained weight again, it got more and more difficult to lose it and keep it off. Eventually, I just decided on an acceptable weight and I figured out ways to stay as close to that weight as possible.
In recent years, my body has given me the best excuses for not working out. Due to a couple of genetic conditions, I have to be very careful about how much strain I put on my knees and my back. I have to be very cautious not to become a complete couch potato, though because I do want to be as healthy as possible. During the school year, I make sure I walk very briskly around campus at least twice a day. During the summer, I make a weekly trip to the gym with my mom, so my muscles don’t become too weak. There is a combination of what we take in and how we exert our energy that keeps everything in check. I choose to be more vigilant about my food intake, others may choose to work out more, so that they can eat. It is not very hard to maintain physical fitness if one determines what he or she can do and is willing to do to stay in shape.
Emotional fitness seems to be a little trickier. I have had three really big breakups, and, just like my weight cycles, each time a major relationship ended, it was more and more difficult to bounce back. I have discovered, though, that emotional strength and physical strength are both byproducts of what you take in and how you exert your energy. When I would take in what society expected for me as a woman, i.e. how to dress, how to talk, how to look, how to date, it was overwhelming. When I spent all of my energy just trying to find the next man who could be my husband, it was exhausting. There were times when I thought I would never survive being single.
However, when I started getting a daily diet of God’s Word and started focusing my energy on using the gifts He had given me, I started to feel stronger and stronger. I still have some down days, but those are the days when I need to do a little more intense workout; I need to pray more, read more, listen more. I have read Philippians 4:13 all of my life, but in my seasons of singleness, it has had more relevance to me than in any other times. Where I am weak, God is strong, so as I continue to use His Word and prayer to emotionally and spiritually workout, He gives me the strength I need to make it through each day. He helps me to not focus on singleness, but on the work He would have me do for the Kingdom.
Just like I don’t care to sweat in a physical workout because it makes me feel yucky and gross, there are times when I don’t feel like being alone and I am mad because I feel yucky and gross, but being alone is exactly where God needs me to be, so that I can live my best life. He needs my focus and attention, so that I can be fruitful and fulfill His purpose for my life. So, He will give me all the tools I need, if I will use them, to gain the strength it takes to keep pressing. And, He will do the same for you if you will allow Him to lead your emotional and spiritual workout.
Thank You, God for accepting me as Your own,
and as such, giving me everything I need to survive.
Please forgive me for paying more attention to what others
think I should have or what I think I need.
Lord, please help me to listen to Your voice
and to engage in emotional and spiritual workouts when I am feeling weak.
In Jesus’ Name,
*Scripture quotations are from the New International Version ©1984, unless otherwise indicated.