For this very reason*, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate exercising? I hate exercising almost as much as I hate math, but unfortunately I have to do both. I hate math because I was never good at it and neither are two of my children. Until they leave home, we all have to struggle over it together.
Exercise is a different matter. Working out is a non-negotiable for me because I paid a dear price when I neglected that area of my life. My body failed and I got miserably sick for over five years. As I age, the changes in muscle tone and strength change more rapidly and I have to work harder than ever to maintain strength.
A year ago I hired Robin, a personal trainer, in order to get stronger for my hysterectomy surgery. Even though I've been training for a year, I don't like it any better than I did before. She comes on Monday and Wednesday and I fully dread those afternoons. She gets me warmed up and then spends about 40 minutes punishing certain muscle groups. I sweat and make noises like an animal. My kids laugh at me, but that's because they don't work as hard.
Sometimes, when I'm working through the last set of weights or cardio, I have to visualize Jesus carrying his cross, because it's that hard for me to finish. Robin, just stands over me watching with a very unconcerned face. The other day I thought, I still don't like this, why do it? The voice in my head answered back, "Who cares if you like it? Do it anyway." I listened to the second voice because ultimately it doesn't matter whether I like it or not, it's necessary for health.
Though I've trained for a year, I am just now beginning to see results in my body. I can tell I'm stronger and can lift and carry more. I may even have slightly more stamina, but in my physical shape, I can only see one piece of evidence of all my effort.
I can see one dimple.
It's on my thigh and every time I get a glimpse of it, I'm ecstatic. Let me also say that this little, beautiful dimple is enough to keep me going. When I look in the mirror and see the outline of that one little muscle trying to carve it's way out of weak flesh, it inspires me. In fact, I made the decision yesterday, to add another day to my training in hope that the extra punishment will encourage other, hidden little dimples.
Spiritual growth can be like a dimple sometimes. Don't get discouraged if you're not where you want to be spiritually. Be grateful for the dimples you can see, focus on Christ and keep working hard. I promise you'll see results of your effort!
* the reason we need to work out like this is so we may participate in God's divine nature and escape corruption caused by evil desires in this world.
Heavenly Father, help us to seek you for daily strength as we add your qualities to our own spirits.