I am weak.
My legs can carry me through a run, over the bumps on my skis, and through a long bike ride. My hands and arms can get me up a rock wall, allow me to carry more grocery bags than two people should need up three flights of stairs in one trip and allow me to give hugs. But I am weak. Spiritually that is. Sunday night we were watching the last installment of John Bevere’s The Bait of Satan curriculum and he was talking about something I’ve thought about a lot – how physical training is like spiritual training and how you need to train spiritually (reading the Word, spending time in prayer, etc) in order to withstand the things that are thrown your way. Confession: I am weak.
I know a lot about training. I make money off from helping people become disciplined and physically fit. I know a thing or two about pushing through and doing two more reps, or one more mile, when it is completely difficult and you fatigued. I know what it is like to be in great shape, become lax and have to fight your way back to the shape you once were. It isn’t easy. It never is – especially coming back. All we seem to remember is how it felt to be in awesome shape, but we forget the work that it took to get there. We forget all the sweat, sore muscles, the workout when we just didn’t really feel like doing them – but we did them anyway. We just remember what it felt like to cross that finish line, or meet that weight lifting goal, or weight loss goal, whatever it may be. We seem to block out the hard stuff.
I remember a time when I was superrrrr diligent and disciplined about my quiet time, prayer, various spiritual disciplines. I remember when that was so ingrained in my routine it was a part of who I was. I remember what it feels like to overcome, but I have become weak. I can pinpoint specific instances in recent history that has led to my deteriorating condition (thank you John Bevere for painfully pointing those out) and I recognize the spaces that I’m weak (and just like our physical bodies I have some areas that are weaker than the others). And you know – it is fairly easy to fake an appearance of strength and fitness…for a while…you dress right, do the things you are good at. Somehow, though, there always comes a time or event that exposes our weaknesses…either to others or ourselves.
So I’m weak – and it’s not always fun to struggle to get back to a state of fitness, spiritual or physical. It takes a whole lot of work. It takes dedication, discipline and a willingness to struggle and wrestle with ourselves and with God. But I remember what it feels like to be in great condition, to run the race well, to cross a finish line feeling strong and looking forward to the next race. The plain truth of the matter is that no matter what our physical or spiritual condition – there is always room for growth and improvement and it is always worth the effort and work to press forward. I’m in Tampa at the moment for a conference (and enjoying some fabulous runs in sunny, warm weather that we don’t have in the Midwest right now…there is nothing more motivating to get me out the door than being in a new place. I often exercise/workout more when I am traveling. But I digress…) I’m here for a conference and my spiritual muscles are waking up – they are a bit sore at points, but they are waking up and they feel good. I am weak, but I press on.