Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Stop if you experience …

Most things are more fun with a friend, so in an effort to make exercising fun, I met a friend at the gym. Mostly, we talked about restaurants (irony?), but we also had fun having someone "safe" to talk to about how all the machines are supposed to work. We gave the other people something to talk about when we let the weights slam down (just once) and make noise. It was kind of a welcome break from the sound of the man huffing and puffing, lifting weights by the mirror, and the rhythmic sound of the pedals and the mills … makes me tired just thinking about it.

In the process of trying to strengthen our physical bodies, since they are the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 6:19), I was reading the directions on the machines and noticed that there is one phrase repeated on every machine. "Stop immediately if you experience pain."

WHAT? "You've got to be kidding me," I told my girlfriend. "If I did that, I'd never workout. I'd never get any healthier. I'd quit every time I started to exercise!"

Now don't get me wrong. I understand the point; I also understand that it's probably part of a legal release in some way, in case of injury. However, when we need to gain strength, it's going to hurt. In my limbs or in my life. Paul talks about how he disciplined his body and brought it into subjection (I Cor. 9:24-27), so that he would win the imperishable crown of the faithful. Trials are painful, but they produce strength.

"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us," Rom. 5:3-5.

Suffering hurts, but we shouldn't just "Stop immediately if you experience pain." Instead, repeat the question that the Psalms record three times, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God." When pain comes from the suffering of life, I can't afford NOT to do daily reps on my knees! Peace isn't the absence of pain; it's the foundation for experiencing joy in the midst of suffering. I think I'll make a sign out of that and hang it in the gym!

1 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Wendy Blight said...

I love what you wrote today about pain. I read those same words every time I work out and think the same thoughts...I too want to stop when I feel pain, but that would mean I would quit every time! But if I quit, I would never build my muscles and never increase my endurance. And when I have endured, and I have worked through the pain, it feels SO good when I walk out of the gym!!!

I never really put that thought together with my faith until I read your post. What a great analogy. I love your words, "Peace isn't the absence of pain; it's the foundation for experiencing joy in the midst of suffering."

Thanks and Blessings to you,