Ever have an exercise you just can't master? This is one of mine.
-you don't hang ftom anything,
-and they don't simulate a cleaning movement. You know like Mr Miagi...
wax on, wax off.
This is a weight lifting excercise that I haven't been able to figure out.
You see, I'm one of those. 'Why' people. If I know why I do something, I can do it so much better.
Even if, in the category of excercise, I know what it's supposed to simulate, or what muscle group it's working, or what skill I'm building toward.
But this one, Hang Cleans.
I just don't have use for... at all!
So why do we do them?
I simply don't understand.
This move just seems complicated and nonsensical. No matter when I've been instructed to do them, no one has ever been able to explain to me why I would need to master this motion.
If I had to explain it to someone who had no idea what it was, I would maybe call it a squat.
But it would seem that there's this extra bounce and heel hop you have to add to the motion in the middle that is supposed to give you some extra momentum. Then you do the deep squat. And then as you stand fully you lift the bar or barbells over your head.
Well, I guess that's right
And then I ask myself again...
so why am I doing them?
I'm truly sorry to all those cross-fitters I've just offended.
I tried not to complain out loud this morning in bootcamp.
And I only asked two or three times how to do them.
So why is this motion so hard for me?
And is that hopping part in the middle really necessary?
My inner monologue:
Oh my gosh, Just do it, Lisa and be quiet! Trust #theTrainer and...
lean not on your own understanding.
Maybe day after tomorrow, some sore muscle will tell you why you did them.
In the future you will be stronger. Then you will have grown into this move, and will better understand it's purpose. Trust #theTrainer. There is a progression to the plan for your life.
I was supposed to meet my trainer at a certain time.
He is never late, never absent.
But this morning, I could not find him at the gym.
So after a few minutes of wondering,
I decided not to waste my time
and climbed back on the stationary bike I'd warmed up on
to do some cardio until he arrived.
My phone buzzed.
"Stuck in Traffic!"
Not unbelievable after the storms of last night.
The roads were tricky, and people moving slower.
So he had texted me that he would not make it
before our half hour was over.
Although I was disappointed,
I reigned in my selfishness and decided it would be fine.
I'll just strengthen myself!
This morning before I headed to the gym,
I had just been reading about David and his mighty men.
These were warriors that came to his aid
as he was hidden in the wilderness
and on the run from King Saul.
These men sought him out,
wanting to fight beside him,
to follow his leadership.
Now these were the heads of the mighty men whom David had,
who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom,
with all Israel, to make him king,
according to the word of the Lord concerning Israel.
1 Chronicles 11:10 NKJV
I absolutely love this...
mighty men, strengthening themselves!
And I believe that's what made me so quick to decide
to do the same.
I knew it was leg day,
so I just imagined what my trainer would have me do.
And once I set my mind to strengthen myself,
I actually had a great workout.
Because I chose to.
Just as these mighty men did.
They were Israelites who saw that they were losing ground
under the leadership of Saul.
So they joined the forces of David
seeking to make him King... as the Lord had planned.
But they needed to strengthen themselves
to be ready for what God would have them do.
And such is life today...
when things don't always go our way.
Surprises catch us off guard,
But we always have a choice...
will we let this ruin our day, or
will we determine
to set aside our selfishness...
and strengthen ourselves.
And today, of course,
I was talking about physical strength at the gym.
But the same is true spiritually.
For even when we begin to pray for something new,
we don't always hear the answer we want.
Or we don't hear anything at all.
But that does not give us a spiritual day off.
Why should we just stand still, waiting,
when we know #theTrainer would have us stay strong in the Lord.
And if we have been walking with God very long,
we have certainly begun to know how He thinks on a matter.
#theTrainer is very clear about His character
and His thoughts toward us,
throughout the Bible.
So just like this morning,
when my plans didn't go as expected,
I set my mind to do the things my trainer had taught me.
Similarly, when things in life don't go our way,
we can still set out mind to do things #theTrainer has taught us.
Even when I do not know specifically what to do next,
I can strengthen myself
like those mighty men under David's command.
I don't have to sit around and wait,
unproductive and scratching my head.
I can walk forward in the ways that #theTrainer has taught me.
And I will become stronger in my faith as I do.
I can still trust in God, no matter my circumstances.
I can treat people with respect.
I can be kind and loving.
I can look for opportunities to help others.
I can be an encourager to a friend in need.
And each day, I will become stronger in the Lord.
Let us too, be like the mighty men of David's time.
Let us strengthen ourselves in the Kingdom of God.
I've heard people say...
"Practice makes perfect"
But since I so often stare at my faults instead of my gifts,
perfect seems an awful goal to me.
Too, well... unreachable!
I don't ever feel as though I will be perfect...
not on this earth,
so I might as well give up.
I mean, why try to struggle toward toward the unachievable?
Do I quit?
Do I give up?
Do I stay defeated by my negative thoughts of self... or
do I change the goal?
What if instead...
I decided to practice my gifts...
until my purpose is fulfilled, and God is glorified...
rather than focusing on becoming perfect.
What if, instead of practicing toward perfect, I say...
"Practice makes Purposed!"
But you may be wondering...
if I really have gifts from God, why do I need to practice them?
Shouldn't they be all packaged and ready to use?
But if that were the case, then we wouldn't all be using them now?
While I believe in a generous God,
I also believe that He wants us engaged...
partnering with Him.
I don't think that God just hands out gifts and talents
in a ready-to-use form,
like... no assembly required.
For what would be the satisfaction in that?
Like a gift we give our children
for which they cannot appreciate, or ascribe value.
The success and satisfaction we get from a gift
is often not just from receiving it...
but by learning how to use it, and
often mastering it as we put it to use.
So often, we don't even know what our gifts are.
Because they are wrapped, stored and guarded in heaven above.
But we have yet to receive them...
to open them,
to recognize them as ours to claim,
and put them to use.
Paul tells us about the gifts God has for us...
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing
in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.
Ephesians 1:3 NLT
And for each of us, the combination of these is different.
Yet grace... God’s undeserved favor
was given to each one of us,
not indiscriminately, but in different ways
in proportion to the measure of Christ’s rich and abundant gift.
Therefore it says,
“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And He bestowed gifts on men.”
But does that mean we know how to use them?
And His gifts to the church were varied...
and He did this, to fully equip and perfect the saints... God’s people
for works of service, to build up the body of Christ... the church,
until we all reach oneness in the faith
and in the knowledge of the Son of God,
growing spiritually to become a mature believer,
reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ...
manifesting His spiritual completeness
and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity.
It's actually a principal much like our fitness.
We all have muscles, but some of them are covered,
buried beneath the trappings of this earthly body.
Just look in any anatomy book and you'll see that
unless we have been under the knife or injured in some way,
all humans are created... born with 640 muscles.
But not all of them are seen, known, or exercised.
Just talk to any woman who loses weight and catches a glimpse of themselves unexpectedly. Suddenly she see herself differently. Even though these muscles were there all along, they were just unexposed and lacking exercise.
But give her some training,
a bit of awesome music to get her moving,
and Wonder Woman arrives on the scene.
It's just that they are now known,
and working together.
So these muscles we all have, are not worth much,
if they are not worked out.
Just ask anyone lying injured, or ill in bed...
Too long there, and they will lose the strength,
even the coordination to walk.
Sometimes even the strength to lift themselves out of bed.
If that is you, today... I pray this encourages you!
Lord Jesus, healing and wholeness
over the very mind, body and soul that reads this.
And I'm not speaking lightly if this.
For I've seen her,
I've heard her,
I've felt her,
I HAVE BEEN HER!
A year of trial...
injury, infection and isolation.
I have suffered this very weary condition.
I have known the disturbing depression that besets the immobile.
And honestly, that is what moves me daily...
what drives me constantly,
what pushes me to be...
as strong as possible now.
If we don't regularly excercise our muscles,
they will be of little use to us.
And that is also true of the gifts and talents God has for us.
We first need to know that we have them.
To recognize them and call them down from God by faith...
asking Him to expose them to us.
And often that takes a humble heart,
willing to let go of other things that distract...
that cover up our gifts.
Then we must regularly excercise them
so that they gain strength, flexibility,
and coordination with others in God's grace.
Only when we practice our gifts, can we freely and fully serve God.
So I've decided to not longer strive for this unattainable perfection.
For that will only happen in eternity.
But until then, as I seek to be fully equipped for works of service,
I will ask God to make known the varied gifts He has for me.
And with them I can strive toward my purpose...
to grow spiritually as I exercise my gifts,
to put into practice all He has given me.
Practicing my gifts toward fulfilling my purpose.
Practice makes Purposed.
Let me encourage you, as well...
God, has equipped you!
God has given you a special set of gifts.
Ask Him to reveal them to you.
He is #theTrainer who knows how capable you are...
and He will coach you forward,
as you begin to exercise these gifts,
just as you would a muscle..
Trust that you will grow stronger,
more flexible and
coordinated in your purpose for God.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet;
but one thing I do...
forgetting what lies behind and
reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the heavenly prize
of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
This morning, when I got up, I was in a fairly good place.
Then a brief encounter with someone
sent my mind spiraling out of control.
In an instant...
just the mere suggestion of something from the past...
just the tone of the words spoken to me,
shook me, causing me to lose my balance.
The balance of my thoughts and emotions shifted.
I had this sinking feeling...
this overwhelming oppressive cloud began to cover me.
And I knew it was not a right place to go.
Tears welled up, and though I was already dressed for the gym,
I considered staying home.
I could have, just then and there...
given in to my feelings and thrown myself a pity party.
But instead, I knew working out and getting my daily endorphin surge,
would be a better medicine.
I had to make myself leave the house.
I sat there in my car and knew I needed first to fix my mind.
So I looked up some verses to encourage myself.
I spoke them out loud...
just me sitting in my car, in the garage.
Because I knew that if I didn't choose to set my mind on something good,
it would easily be filled with negative condemning thoughts.
An empty place...
is still a space..
Our minds will always fill with the next, easiest thought...
unless we make a better choice.
If you've ever felt this shift in balance,
you know what I'm talking about.
I think we all have, at some time or another,
experienced this filling...
even flooding, that harasses us
with the next negative thing...
the condemning thought,
the memory from the past,
the sad, sorry, pity party stuff.
That is exactly when we need to take control of our thoughts.
We must think something better... on purpose,
rather than becoming overwhelmed.
And the best place to start...
is something good from God,
Something to renew us... on purpose!
And God led me to this...
But now, this is what the Lord, your Creator,
And He who formed you, says...
“Do not fear,
for I have redeemed you from captivity;
I have called you by name... you are Mine!
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you.
When you walk through fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.
“For I am the Lord your God,
The Holy One of Israel... your Savior;
I have given Egypt to the Babylonians as your ransom,
Cush ancient Ethiopia and Seba its province in exchange for you.
“Because you are precious in My sight,
You are honored and I love you,
I will give other men in return for you
and other peoples in exchange for your life.
“Do not fear, for I am with you..."
I chose to speak out loud,
the beauty of Old Testament...
Isaiah reminding me that I am precious to God
and always protected.
And then I married it with the New Testament truth of Paul...
urging me to let go of my past,
and press on toward the future.
To be honest... It didn't happen immediately.
But after I read the verses a few times,
I drove toward the gym and let the words of God
sink in, and bathe my mind and my spirit.
The heaviness lifted...
I even stopped at the Post Office to mail a letter
and heard an encouraging word... a compliment.
God certainly did not want me to spend this day
out of balance.
You cannot go FORWARD...
He knows how strong you really are...