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Friday, March 16, 2007

I like the idea of exercise

My youngest daughter has a fear of most living creatures that can come within a few feet of her~ mostly cats and dogs. But if you ask her she'll say, "I like cats" or "I really like dogs." We've started telling her she likes the IDEA of those animals, but not the real thing.

That's how I feel about exercise. ;-) I like the idea of it. I like what it's supposed to do. But in the midst of it, I'm begging Jesus to come back soon!

But I do it anyway. Because I know in the end I'll feel better and at some point I'll start seeing the results.

I still prefer the idea of exercise to the actual application.

Yesterday, I was reading our In Touch devotional and the subject appeared innocent enough: Walking by the Spirit.

But then it started talking about exercise of all things! "Left alone, muscles become soft and weak."

Yeah, I'm exhibit A for that statement.

But then I read this, "The same thing [muscles becoming soft and weak] happens to a spirit that never faces turmoil or struggle. Apart from the strengthening effect of strife and pain, our faith would be weak and nearly useless."


Those sentences sure stopped me cold. I've mulled it over a lot since yesterday morning. As I disciplined my kids for the same things for what felt like the millionth time. As I apologized to a friend for something I'd done that I was afraid had hurt her. As I got honest before God when He pointed out some stuff in my heart that I would have rather left alone.

All opportunities for me to strengthen my spirit and exercise my faith through obedience.

Or not.

Thankfully, I've learned through physical exercise that even when I don't want to do it, it really is best for me to stick with it.

Same with obedience. Even when I don't want to ask my kids for what feels like the millionth time to forgive me because I was quick to anger and slow to listen to the Lord, it's always the best thing.

For my heart and spirit. And for theirs.

I'd never thought about walking in the Spirit being exercise for my soul. Or that painful trials were useful for keeping my faith from becoming weak.

But they are. And that's not only good for me, but it's also good for everyone my life touches.

If I choose to surrender to the Lord and let Him strengthen me.

It sure helps knowing that every time I step forward in obedience, my faith is strengthened. And that every time I submit to the circumstances the Lord brings in my life, I grow a little bit more like Him.

I don't just like the idea of that type of exercise. I love the guaranteed payoff: seeing Jesus and glorifying Him.

As for the other type of exercise? Well... let's just say I'll keep doing it regardless.

Speaking of which, I'd better get to it.

Only this time, I think I'll try it with a smile.

Because if exercising the spirit through obedience strengthens my faith and exercising my body keeps my muscles from getting weak, then maybe I do like more than the idea of exercise after all.


Laurie said...

This was good, Amy. Perfect for reading at the end of my tough week.

Thanks. I am blessed by your transparency.


Amy Wallace said...

Thanks so much for your encouragement, Laurie! Being transparent isn't always easy, but it's the only way I know how to write.


Vicki said...

Hi Amy! Time to pop in and say hello...thanks for another wonderful post.


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