Thursday, March 12, 2015

Trying to utilize your heart..without the sweat & tears

Joining the gym is a fantastic idea, that's what I told myself last week.  I mean, it's a great solution to weak muscles and a wonderful helper against the ever aging body. 

A little bit of sweat.
A little bit of time.
A little bit of effort.
And we should be ready to tackle most anything.

My free day pass at the gym was quite the eye-opener for me.  I walked in with my new yoga pants and "all about the heat" get-up, thinking all about how I used to lift weights in high school; and looking back I remembered I really enjoyed it.  This would be a challenge for me but I was certain that my body would remember how this works and I was sure to surprise myself at what I could do.

Yeah, that didn't happen.  

My idea of running 3 miles in great time turned into walking a 22 min mile with my feet feeling as though they were weighted with bricks.  I walked the gym as a desperate attempt to look like I was training for something, and the total weights I lifted probably didn't weigh as much as the yoga pants I had put on.

My struggle was evident.. I knew it, the people around me surely saw it.

That's the point though, I had to tell myself, "of course they know your new have to start somewhere."  "It doesn't  matter how it looks; it matters if you stick with it. 
The growth will only occur if you continue to lift and work at it." 

And so, the story goes..people go to the gym and work out, come home sweaty and tired.  The next day they feel like they have been hit by a Mac truck and then they do it all over again...and you can tell.  You can tell who does that and who doesn't.  You can tell who commits to it and who is a watcher, wisher, dreamer.  I really wanted to be a do-er.  I want to have results that people can see; but most importantly results that I can feel!

Your heart is a great muscle that needs attended to regularly, we can go to the gym and strengthen it physically but emotionally to make it strong it take much more then a treadmill. 

Exercising your heart physically is somewhat like working out triceps & biceps but is so different when it comes to exercising it emotionally. There is a big difference between willingly stepping onto a stair master and willingly stepping aside to allow something to break your heart.

Risk is what makes the heart function better.  You move out of the way of defense and allow people and events come close even though there is a flying chance you will get hurt in the process.  Torn muscles, expansion of feelings, increased mobility...these are your gaining points.  These are what others will see on your if you are allowing heart exercise to happen.  These are the things you are going to feel!

This process screams loudly phrases of retaliation, such as.."I can't do this!"  But just as you were lifting that extra weight at the gym, you can push through.  It may not look pretty, but you can do it!  You will find that you may not be as strong as you anticipated, but you have a great "spotter that is."

In 2 Timothy Paul aspires to remind us several important things as he is awaiting his execution.  His key points sound something like...

Please remember these things:  There is a cause, There is and will be persecution if you are doing things right, and You will not endure this alone.

The last of these points is where I often stop and look around.  It is here that I have to remind myself, that this indeed it true.  I am not alone.  During heartache especially we NEED to KNOW this.  Paul says in 3:16 "At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me.  May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it."

Paul states in this passage that there was a purpose behind it all, there was times of great aching of the heart, and that the Lord was there.  Is there.  Always there with him...with you.  Even if everyone else has jetted!

Enduring heartache is a time of utilizing the heart muscle, teaching & training it to be utilized to it's fullest potential.  To do this we walk through hard times, such we may call the valley of the shadow of death.  The hardest heart things that are to be endured and the deepest moments with God are in this place.

There are 2 views in life about the Valley of Shadows; This place of great weeping, fear & internal brokenness.  This hollow place of struggling, the flat out nastiest place on the planet. 

View 1 of the Valley:  God quietly enjoys watching you walk through this vast land of pain while slightly smirking as He wonders how you are going to maneuver though gracefully.  He hears you and see you but wont intervene because He feels that you much deserve the "walk through" or He thinks you need it in order to become something your not already.  This is a common view.

View #2 of the Valley:  God lives there.  God is there before you get there.  He postures Himself  in a majestic fighting stance that cannot be imitated by any force coming against Him.  He is full of mobility, waiting for the tactic of your foe to make a move.  He knows in advance what strategy works best against every approach against you.  He moves around you in protection mode as your grieve, rest, pray, cry, hope, & feel.  He shields you from the enemy so you can move through the valley and not stay there.  He positions himself on your backside as you finally come to the end of the darkness, all the while, holding every attempt against you at bay. 

He will be there again in the valley so that when you are forced by this life to come back, He will be the light that you see, the hope that you feel...the One to usher you back out again safely.

Let's assume that View #2 is the most accurate.  I really think our hearts depend on this.  We have to pace ourselves through our heart work-outs.  We must realize that there is a plan and purpose for it, there will be hard times coming, and we are never alone

We have to set our eyes on the end goal, and stay focused on the One who moves us gently through the pains of our life.  When we do, we will realize that view 2 is golden and true and that as we endure life's obstacles, God can outdo, outrun, outwit, outfight, outlive anything that tells us we are weak & alone! 

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