Sweat beaded on my temples, and my heart rate climbed. Every muscle in my body screamed. “Keep it up, Carly!” my CrossFit instructor hollered. We were in the throes of an intense 6 a.m. workout. I pushed on, trying my best to ignore the burning in my deltoids and abdominal muscles. Collapsing to the floor for a few seconds, I took an unplanned break before I dragged myself back up and continued.
Physical development is hard. When the alarm goes off in the morning, my sleepy mind says, “Nooo!” but I pull myself out of bed anyway, and accountability to my husband and another missionary couple, the Patels, keeps me from rolling over and dozing off again. While I’m burning calories and strengthening my muscles, my body says, “This hurts!” but I push on anyway, and the encouragement of my trainer and the team keep me going. Once I finish the workout, I’m exhausted, but the sense of satisfaction and achievement is a high that I ride all day. Exercise is one of the necessary activities for healthy living, and if we don’t experience discomfort during the process, it probably isn’t benefiting us very much.
Our spiritual development can be hard, too. When God convicts us of certain weaknesses, we want to resist and say, “Nooo! That’s too hard, Lord!” But it is for our good that our “Trainer” urges us onward and upward. We must go through the pain and discomfort of being molded into the image of Christ. All along the way, our number-one fan, Jesus, cheers us on and lifts us up when we fall. The accountability of like-minded friends helps us stay faithful and get through the tough spots.
When we push through hard times and come out the other side, we are stronger and healthier, and we can ride the high of knowing that God has provided for us yet again.