"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me,
if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me" (Acts 20:24 NIV).
I'm not an exercise guru, not even close. But, I keep going physically, mentally, and spiritually. Yes, there are days I want to just give it all up––the writing, the classes, even the ministry. Did I just admit that? Haven't you been there a time or two, honestly? I'm guessing, yes. Admitting it is a way of facing the reality that things change and sometimes God does want to move us into a new task. But, just maybe, He wants to renew us for the task at hand. Maybe, we are burned out or just weary. Either way, He doesn't want us to give up, just keep moving. When I reach that point, I ask myself if I want to give up or, do I want to keep going and do more? A reality check that shakes my soul because deep down, I don't want to give up. I want to finish the race––on the path I walk or another path waiting for me directed by my God.
You don't have to enter the senior years to feel like giving it all up to go sit on the beach. Seasons in our lives cause us to want to give up on our dreams, give up on our marriage, our family or our job. We can lose our drive, our purpose, and our way if we lose sight of why we are in the race. The finish line has vanished from our view, and we lose sight of the task the Lord gives us.
In my book, Shape Your Soul, I write about resistance training in one chapter. Resistance training increases stamina. As you grow stronger, you don't tire as easily. The more weight you bear, the more you resist giving up. Likewise, the more we resist the devil, the more our faith muscles straighten and our faith increases. Each victory over sin builds our faith. We resist the temptation to give up, and we don't give in to the devil. "Therefore, submit to God. But, resist the devil, and He will flee from you" (James 4:7 HCSB).
I push myself in many ways––although not through exercise per se. But, physically, yes, I do push myself. I love to scrub floors, go figure. We have many on our mission base so I can't get away from my floor scrubbing exercise. I look for ways to exercise in my daily routine. I put things away where I'll have to bend––yep bending exercises. I keep moving, physically, mentally, and spiritually. If not, the body withers, our minds get lazy, and the soul dies.
A few years ago I developed carpel tunnel because I worked on the computer daily. Then last year, my right arm developed golf elbow and tennis elbow from completing five book contracts. Both times, I had physical therapy for months on end and part of that was lifting dumbbells to straighten my wrists and arm. Grueling can't accurately describe the pain of the therapy. But, without it, my shoulder could be frozen, possible surgery for my wrists and one of my dream jobs (writing) coming to and end. Not to mention, my day job as a missionary and teacher to young girls in jeopardy also. I saw the end result and worked towards it without hesitation. I wanted to get to the final therapy session and enjoy my work again.
Reaching the end of the race and accomplishing God's tasks for me keeps me going. Daily working out my faith straightens my soul to keep going in the race. There may be setbacks and rest periods along the journey, but I keep going to reach the finish line.
Resistance training with God moves our mountain of defeat. If we resit the devil, we gain strength, and complete our task for the Lord––never giving up and never defeated.