I surprised myself the other day! I went to my boot camp, begrudgingly. It was testing day, and I do not like testing day. It is enough for me to get there, let alone to have to be tested!
We had three different skills to do. They were the same ones that we did last time. This time we would see if we improved. I grumbled under my breath, "I suppose I'll do worse this time." (I know, being pessimistic isn't healthy, but we all have our crabby days.) I got down in to the modified push-up position. The test was to do as many push-ups as one can until "fail," in other words, your muscles are shivering and shaking, and you can not push your body up off of the ground one more time. So, I went at it. Thirty. Forty. Fifty. Fifty-five. Fifty-seven. (I was determined to hit a round number). Sixty -- and that was it. Not only could I not get up, I couldn't even roll over. However, I was shocked. I did 30 more than I did one month ago!
I couldn't believe that I had made that much progress. Was I really getting stronger? Was all that work I was doing really more than misery and pain? I had been going, faithfully, to the boot camp three times a week for the past month, but each time I felt worn out. I was working on modifying my diet, as well, but I just couldn't believe it!
I think it is a parallel to our gaining strength in the Lord. There are times when we are going through some serious "resistance training." Not only are we having to work against alot of pain or sadness or suffering, but we are feeling like we want to resist having to do it. In the process, though, we learn that staying committed to the Lord is the key to our growing stronger in Him. We develop perseverance over time (unfortunately, it's the only way that perseverance can be developed) and this adds to our strength. We learn more about what to take in to our minds (the truth) and what to fight to leave out (the lies). We develop a focused faith that takes one day at a time.
1 Peter 5:10 says, "And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
Strong, firm and steadfast. That is what I was feeling, physically after realizing that I had become stronger by being committed to coming to the workouts, eating well and working hard. I didn't give up, even though I wanted to, sometimes. Spiritually, it may be a bit different, but God gives us opportunities to grow stronger in Him as we stay committed to Him, watch what we take in to our minds and hearts and pursue a life of obedience to Him. Don't give up. It's not always easy to do the right thing, but blessings do come along the path.
Be strong in the Lord, dear reader. God uses our circumstances to strengthen us for the calling that He has for our lives. Trust in Him. Obey Him. Seek Him. You will grow stronger and stronger, and you may even surprise yourself one day.