Monday, August 20, 2018

3 Baby Steps to Get Back in Shape

Trying to work out when you have an auto-immune disease that primarily attacks your nerves and muscles can be nearly impossible.  If I don't work out, the scale keeps climbing and the extra weight amplifies the symptoms of the disease building a vicious cycle of trying to stay as healthy as I can.  I started up again a few months ago and could barely make it through 3 minutes on the Elliptical and IF my muscles were up to it I could lift between 25-30 pounds on any given weight machine.  Gradually, I was able to increase those numbers to 10 minutes on the Elliptical and 80 pounds on most machines!  I was so proud of myself to see growth!  Then, we went to New York City for a week.  Didn't work out while I was gone other than a few squats a day to make myself feel like I was doing something.  Then, we had to replace our washer and dryer and decided to paint the laundry room when we returned.  Didn't work out that week either.  Then, I went with my husband to a weekend martial arts camp he was leading.  Didn't work out again.  When I finally got settled into my normal routine, I went back to the gym and was so discouraged that I had declined in what I was able to accomplish!  Thankfully, this break in workout was fairly short and it didn't take me very long to get back to where I was before.  Today's workout was back to 10 minutes and 80 pounds!

As I was reflecting while I was pushing myself this morning, I was reminded that this is exactly how our spiritual walk goes.  When you accept Christ as your personal savior and become a Christian, you begin a spiritual journey called sanctification.  As you learn and grow in your walk with Christ, your spiritual muscles are being trained and getting stronger.  Just like my auto-immune disease though, your sin can fight against your growth if you allow it to.  Unlike my auto-immune disease, there is a cure for sin and as a Christian you can have complete healing and victory over your sin!  If for some reason you do stop learning and growing, your spiritual muscles get cold and weaker so you have to kick start them again.  Just as in physical exercise it's necessary to stay faithful and consistent in your spiritual growth.

If your spiritual muscles are weak and cold, here are a few baby steps to get you going again in your spiritual strength training!

1.  Make a commitment now to attend a church that preaches the whole truth of the Word of God, not "feel good" preaching.  Then, go to church no matter the excuse.

2.  Find a reading plan and schedule 15 minutes a day to read your Bible and jot down notes of any thoughts or questions that come up.  (I like to pick a book of the Bible, read it, make notes in it, mark it off in my table of contents and then pick another book.  When all the books are checked off, I get a new Bible and start again!)

3.  Grab a $1 tablet from the store and schedule 15 minutes a day to write out your prayers to God.

If you do these 3 things, faithfully, you will QUICKLY see yourself growing by leaps and bounds and your spiritual muscles getting stronger and stronger.  That 15 minutes will quickly turn into an hour before you know it.  As you grow, push yourself more and more by doing deeper Bible Studies, listen to sermons online, listen to christian music, join a life group, serve in your church.... whatever your next step is, take it. 

If you fall away for a time, get back to it as quickly as you can.  The longer you wait, the colder those muscles get and the harder it will be to get going again. 

YOU CAN DO THIS!  If I can do 10 minutes on the elliptical with massive, incurable muscle pain, you can read your Bible for 15 minutes a day.  Join me in the journey of spiritual exercise, won't you?!

P.S.  I was doing 30 minutes on the treadmill but I get a much better workout doing 10 on the elliptical.  Quality and consistency is a much more important than quantity.

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